Is Meditation A Sin? A Biblically-Backed Christian Perspective

Not only is meditation not a sin, it can bring us closer to God. 

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Some Christians wonder is meditation a sin, and we understand where that is coming from.

Many spiritual practices fall under the title of meditation, so it is normal to wonder whether it is going against Christian beliefs.

We explored the topic in depth to see whether it is a sin and if it can act as a tool for a deeper connection with God. We will define meditation and see how Christians can approach it so it aligns with their beliefs. 

three people praying over a bible

What Meditation Is and What It Isn’t

The word meditation refers to many things these days, and its definition varies from culture to culture. That is where most confusion for Christians arises.

Of course, there are different types of meditation, but at its base it is turning inward, and observing oneself, one’s thoughts, body, or breath.

For some people, an easier form of meditation is reciting a word or a mantra.

This is where Christians may not feel comfortable, but there is also a very old Orthodox Christian version1 Jesus Prayer. (2024, January 22). Wikipedia. of this, where one repeats “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” In Catholicism, a version of this would be the rosary.

Through meditation, we learn to get back to the present moment, we sharpen our minds.

We become more mindful of our thoughts and actions, which leads to a greater sense of gratitude, compassion, joy, and peace. It is also an effective way to combat mental health issues, improve well-being, and cope with illness and pain.

Becoming more conscious of thoughts and deeds goes hand in hand with the Christian path, as Christians can observe themselves and see what patterns they can work on to live more aligned with the Bible and get closer to God’s presence.
open hands towards the sky

Meditation In The Bible

In the Bible, the word meditate means to contemplate or to ponder on. It teaches us to contemplate the word of God, or his majesty.

The Bible does not speak against meditation, if we look at it from its basic definition – turning our focus inward and being in the present moment.

In fact, Jesus calls for mindfulness in Matthew, saying:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

– Matthew 6:34

One of the first mentions of meditation in the Bible is in Genesis which goes:  

“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.” 

– Genesis 24:63

There are also many uses of the word meditation in Psalms, for example, psalm 1 says:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night,”

– Psalm 1:1-2

The above quote uses meditation for the purpose of thinking about the word of God. 

a quote; "The kingdom of god is within you" against a cross background

Other Psalms also mention this, in 49 it is written:

My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.

– Psalm 49

Psalm 77 says:

I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.

– Psalm 77

In this way, we use meditation to contemplate on the word of God, and to meet him better, which can move our focus away from the troubles of this world. 

There are many other examples in the Bible where meditation is encouraged. Not so much in the sense of sitting for 15 minutes a day. Rather, it talks about a constant state of meditation, or mindfulness. 

The Bible teaches us observation, which is a key part of meditation.

Jesus says:

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but does not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

– Matthew 7:3

In this, he tells us to turn inward, and become more focused on our nature, rather than the physical world.

He also says:

“Deny thyself… and follow me”

– Matthew 16:24

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, they spin not.”

– Matthew 6:26

Through this, he teaches us stillness and letting go of following the everchanging thoughts in our minds.

Rather, he inspires us to focus on him and to notice how everything in nature simply exists without struggle or wandering. In this sense, he teaches us to remain in the present moment, which is the core of meditation.

“When you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place… For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

– Luke 14:7-11

This quote by Jesus also speaks of letting go of our pride and ego, and in this humbling action, we find true peace and connection with God. 

a bible quote against a camel background

I left my favorite Bible quote about meditation for the end, which I think most simply answers the question “is meditation a sin?” 

Jesus says: “The kingdom of God is within you”- Luke 17:21. This quote was used throughout the past by many mystics, as inspiration to turn inward. There we find God’s kingdom, not in the outside world.

Turning inward in meditation helps us to find this Kingdom within. 

Can Christians Meditate?

We pulled only a few quotes from the previous chapter, but many others encourage meditation.

There are also no quotes that go against it. 

Therefore, it is safe to say – yes, Christians can meditate. 

Being present and aware is not a sin, it is a natural state of being, the way we were made. Small children, animals, and nature live in this state at all times. 

We all lived more in this state in the past, when we still lived in the wilderness. We had to be aware of our surroundings to survive.

The modern life and distractions of technology, made us lose that way but we can find it again through meditation.

One may say even a greater sin would be to lose ourselves in thought, to get lost in worldly manners. Observing our thoughts and breath, pondering on the Word is where we connect with God, rather than moving away from him.

a bible quote against a background of a woman meditating

Meditation Can Bring You Closer To God

Not only is meditation not a sin, it can bring us closer to God. 

I personally know many Christians who meditate, one of them being my father. 

At one time, I was pondering this same question. I asked him, what is the difference between prayer and meditation, simply sitting and observing?

I think his answer sums it up very well. He said: “In prayer, we speak to God. In meditation, he speaks to us – and we listen.”

Meditation is not simply emptying one’s mind, it is an act of listening and observing. 

Furthermore, there are also Christian meditation practices that focus on pondering on the Word of God. Lectio Divina2 Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, July 12). Lectio Divina. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. is one of them, and I experienced several wonderful techniques for that in Ignatian spirituality, based on the teachings of the mystic Ignatius of Loyola3 Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, August 6). Ignatius of Loyola. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation.

You can find your own way to incorporate Biblical Meditation, but in essence – if a certain paragraph or sentence from the Bible seems to resonate with you at this point, you can visualize the scene, or observe the sentence in your mind.

This type of bible study contemplation can lead to a breakthrough, you can better understand the Word of God as well as his will for you in this moment of life.

When we meditate in this way, we invite God into our space. We can feel his presence. By observing our thoughts our analyzing our day, we can also see what moves us away, and what brings us closer to God. 

a woman praying over a bible

More Biblical Quotes On Meditation

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

– Joshua 1:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

– Philippians 4:8

I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.

– Psalm 119:15

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalms 19: 14

Is Meditation A Sin? The Final Answer

To summarize the entire article and give the final answer to the question “is meditation a sin?”: no, meditation in the true definition of the word is not a sin. 

In fact, it is encouraged throughout the Scriptures and can bring us closer to God. Whether you want to observe your thoughts and breath or want to contemplate the word of God, it can be a powerful tool to connect deeper with yourself and Christ. 

It can be an act of ‘prayer of quiet’, in the words of one of my favorite Christian mystics – Teresa of Avila4 Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, May 18). Teresa of Ávila. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation.

This type of prayer can help us in rough times, teach us to regulate and calm ourselves, and build a deeper connection with God. 

However, I will still say, that I understand the fear. I conversed with many Christians who are afraid of this practice as well. The reason is the connection of meditation with practices from other religions and spiritual paths such as Buddhism, new age practices, and Hinduism. 

However, chanting a mantra or visualizing spirit guides, are simply methods and rituals. And you don’t have to do any of that to meditate. 

True meditation is being aware of what’s happening within you, which inspires us to be more mindful every day.

 This can make us better Christians, making us more self-aware and helping us build a closer connection and friendship with God.

To conclude, meditation is not a sin, it is a wonderful Christian practice that can help you in all aspects of your life and journey with God.

And if you are worried about yoga in general, we have some articles about that as well.

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Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

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