The Hebrew terms for meditate are “hagah,” which means to mutter (out loud to yourself, to mull over, to ponder, and to think about (Psalm 1:2 and Joshua 1:8) and “siyach“, which means to ponder, reflect upon and talk out loud to yourself (Psalm 119: 15; 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 99 and 148).
Therefore, to meditate is for one to repeatedly think about the Word of God and then ponder, reflect and contemplate on the Word.
Listening vs. Reading the Word of God
Do both. One should read and study the Scriptures so that the Word can be received into and processed by the mind. One should also listen to and meditate on the Scriptures so that the Word can be received into and quicken the heart/spirit. Both lead to the transformation and renewal of the entire being.
Daily meditation and contemplation on the Word of God will transform and renew your spirit and your mind.
Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2).
By meditating on Scripture, one intentionally and purposefully focuses attention on the Word of God. The goal is spiritual transformation by meditation on the Word of God.
“The purpose of meditation is to penetrate the Scriptures and to let them penetrate us. Meditation attunes the inward self to the Holy Spirit so that our hearts harmonize and resonate with His voice.” (Boa, 2001, 177)
Source: Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 177.