Visualisation is the process of using your mind to flesh out details in a story using facts and knowledge you already have.
Visualisation involves you in thinking about what you have read and figuring out the who, what, why, when and where (5Ws) of a situation.
As you focus on a story and think about the 5Ws then you will gain new insight and understanding. Instead of just reading words, spending time to stop and visualise the story brings life and depth to what you are reading.
Imagination takes visualisation a step further. Where visualisation allows you to see factual information, imaginiation takes those facts and allows you to explore them, bringing your own experiences and knowledge to play. It also allows you to ask ‘what if?’ type questions, explore different out comes, put yourself in the place of people involved in the story.
God gave us imagination. Using it to study His word, to think about what you are reading gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to lead us into all truth, bringing things alive that God wants us to see and hear. However it is important to be aware that imagination is just that. It offers insight but is not a Biblical truth. It allows God to talk to you but shouldn’t be used to build a theology on.
Visualisation allows you understand the reading, by applying the 5Ws, and so building a better understanding of what happened historically. Visualisation is fact based.
Imagination allows you to explore the reading, it lets God bring insight and understanding specific to you. It deals with the emotions, possibilities and motivations of a story.
How to use the 5W’s
An example of using imagination
A guided visualisation and imagination