Word of the Day: Selah

Meaning: Pause & Reflect

Hebrew: סֶלָה

Pronounced: “Seh-lah”

Copy the word at the top of your page. Say it aloud three times.

Have you heard this word before? If so, what do you know about it?

Look up the following references where this word is used. What do you learn about the word Selah? 

Psalm 3:1-4

Psalm 9

Psalm 24

Psalm 32:1-7

Psalm 39:10-11

Psalm 46

Where are we in the meta-narrative of Scripture (or, the story of Redemption)? 

Selah is a word may of us have likely breezed past previously. It’s scattered throughout the Psalms and appears in our English Bibles in italics, but without knowing what it means or why it is there, we’re likely to miss the call to reflect altogether. 

Selah is a word that doesn’t have a translation value in English. You may have noticed that there are only a handful of words in the Bible that appear for us just as they would have been pronounced in the days in which these words were written. Hallelujah is another one of these words – a word that rolls off our lips in the same way it would have for Hebrews living in Old Testament days. This isn’t because these words are unimportant or can’t be translated – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. These words are so full of meaning that it would take a phrase or a sentence to give the single word value in English.

Selah is like this. It means to stop and reflect or to pause and consider. It’s used like punctuation throughout the Psalms and a few times in Habakkuk to indicate to the reader that he or she needs to stop and think about what they just read. It’s a way to cease from mindlessly reading praises to God without digesting them and turning your heart truly and fully to God. It’s a way the Bible tells us to stop and grapple with what we just read. It’s a great Old Testament reminder……Stop from all your busyness. Cease from all your rushing. Let your mind rest on these things for a moment. Roll them over in your mind. Consider what you just read.

In the Psalms you read today, what concepts do you need to stop and grapple with? 

Read Colossians 2:2-3. How does practicing God’s call to Selah help us grow into maturity as believers? 

How does this move the story forward?

Pray & Reflect: Thank God that He doesn’t call us to take in a bunch of biblical content without reflecting on it and digesting it. Pray through some of the Psalms you read today, making time to obey God’s call to Selah. 

Author: amygannett

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