The Importance of Pondering

“Read the Bible, my friends, as if you were seeking for something of value. It is a good deal better to take a single chapter, and spend a month on it, than to read the Bible at random for a month. I used at one time to read so many chapters a day, and if I did not get through my usual quantity I thought I was getting cold and backsliding. But, mind you, if a man had asked me two hours afterward what I had read, I could not tell him; I had forgotten it nearly all.” ~ D.L. Moody

Luke 2:19 (ESV)
”But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Moody's quote might ring familiar with many of us just as this verse from Luke that I read again this morning. Ponder? The Greek word for ponder refers to “placing together for comparison.” Mary certainly had much to ponder in her young life, from the promises made to her by the angels and shepherds (Luke 1:32; 2:17-18). She certainly reflected on these promises as she watched her child grow and begin to fulfill those promises.

We too should learn to ponder when we open God’s Word. By doing so, our faith can be strengthened through this meditation by recognizing how He is working in our own lives (John 14:21). When we ponder Scripture, we are pleasing God by the example the Psalmist laid out for Israel in Psalm 104:33-34. Pondering Scripture is essential to our spiritual growth and sanctification.

So what does pondering look like?

Reading is not pondering. When we choose to go deeper in Scripture, our focus is no longer about quantity, but rather quality. We do not simply read to check off our daily reading list, but we read to learn. Instead of opening the Bible each year and begin with Genesis and end at Revelation, explore the Bible through word studies, topics, or characters. Start with a verse, word, or topic that interests you and explore the Bible for what God has revealed about that item. There are so many tools available today (many free) that can take you deeper in study than ever before. Learn to use them, but at the same time remain disciplined enough to not let God’s Word be drowned out by the writings of men. Seek your own understanding first, then read commentaries and expositions to supplement this understanding.

When we ponder God’s Word, we are seeking application for our lives. What can we learn from people who lived centuries before us? Once you dive in to this practice, it will become almost second nature to recognize the application as you read and meditate. There is MUCH to learn from God’s chosen and how God acted in times of disobedience and obedience.

We should crave for the nourishment of our souls and this cannot be met by merely listening to a sermon or quickly glancing at the Bible. Just as nourishment for our bodies involves an intricate symphony of body parts to perform together, so to should nourishment for our souls involve a combination of activities such as prayer, reading, searching, and comparing.

As we approach a new year, let us all resolve to not just merely read our Bibles again cover to cover. Let’s learn to ponder Scripture like never before.