Is the Discipline of Study Working in You?
Principle Scriptures on the Discipline of Study: Prov. 1:1-9: 23:12, 23; Deut. 11:18; Ezra 7:10; Matt. 7:7; Luke 10:38-42; 11:28; John 8:32; 17:17; Acts 17:10-12; Rom. 10:17; 12:1-3; Phil. 4:8-9; Col. 3:1-17; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Tim. 4:7, 13; 2 Tim. 2:15-16; 3:16-17; James. 1:5, 19-25; Heb. 4:11-13; 11:6
Challenge for Growth:
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this Discipline of Study from God's most precious Word by examining your life and the passages above. Now ask yourself:
1. How do I exhibit a life of daily Study as an offering to God and others?
2. How can I develop the willingness to be a more disciplined person and realize I have a call to learn and grow?
3. What blocks the willingness to Study from working and being exhibited in me?
4. How can I initiate better Study habits, and discipline myself to carry it out?
5. What can I do to be a better learner and function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
- Here are positive examples from Scripture: Deuteronomy 5:1-3; 31:12-14; Ezra 7:9-11; Ecclesiastes 1:12-14; Luke 10:38-42; Acts 2:42; 17:10-12; 1 Pet. 2:2.; 2 Tim. 4:13
- Here are negative examples from Scripture: Proverbs 19:24-26; Ecclesiastes 12:11-13; Luke 10:38-42; John 5:38-40; Acts 17:13; Acts 17:11; 2 Cor. 4:2; 2 Tim. 2: 22-24.
The Discipline of Study simply means to receive information, then process it with honest astuteness then conforming to the facts if it is valid, helpful and effectual. So it impacts our thinking and experience. For the Bible, it means we are committed to learn and know the Implanted Word which is the message of God conveyed for us through His Bible. In order to be transformed, renewed and be better for the Kingdom of God, ourselves and those around us.
Hear it: The 'intake' aspect of study is acquiring the information from reading or hearing or researching or a more in-depth investigation of the information.
Examine it: To 'analyze' by logic the material or concepts into smaller structures to organize and differentiate between facts, fallacies and conjecture in order to 'evaluate' to understand what needs to be taken in and what needs to be rid of.
Know it: The 'cognitive' of building our mental skills of knowledge and learning, this aspect requires that information to be cultivated by our active due diligence of focus and concentration.
Repeat it: Repetition, the 'synthesis,' of working with a structure to our learning, which is necessary for building awareness to recall data or information so it to take hold, pondering and testing so we know what we have learned.
Understand it: This is the 'comprehension' aspect of learning for us to understand the meaning, the interruption, its translation, and effectual interpretation of instructions and problems over our preconceived ideas. Really understanding and reflecting to make sure a truth is really true for transformation of thinking and application.
Apply it: This is the taking of a useful and true concept into a real situation or a potential construct. For the Bible, the purpose of renovation, where one applies what was learned into the narrative of life, relationships, church, all situations in life and work.
Practice it: This is allowing what we learn to be continually effective and 'affective,' to our personal growth and emotional areas. Then to make this an impact and be useful to the Kingdome, we live it out if it is real truth. And, pass on what we learn in a humble kind way. If you have it, give it, if you do not have it you can't give it, the fruit of our faith.
To engage a proper study, we are to open our mind with reason to fill our knowledgebase to what God and godly people have to instruct us. We must have the attitude of seeking and applying truth with receptivity and then make a response. The Bible is our primary (and other good instruction secondary), but we are not limited, we can explore science, humanities, mathematics, life, culture, language, relationships to state a few so we can grow in understanding and life application. It is entirely possible to move our mindset to deeper maturity and character, to be willing to trust our source, which we can with His Word, so we can obtain and attain from our dependence of God. We can be convicted away from presumptions and falsehood to be turned to God's true Truth. When we encounter any good lesson in truth or God's true Truth, we listen, learn, and apply and adjust our thinking and behavior to what is real, relevant and glorifying to our Lord.
What Study is not is laziness. Thinking "I already know all I need to know" or that "the Holy Spirit will supply all that I need so why bother". Not being willing to learn something new hinders what we can do better. Not willing to unlearn a bad behavior or bad thinking or a false hood enable us to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. Not being able to relearn something we may have forgotten will also hinder our spiritual and relational growth. There is also the fear of knowledge that it may hinder the Holy Spirit. These claims are, of course, ridiculous because they contradict the Bible and only satisfy ones slothful or prideful attitude. What we can't do is just copy others thinking or behaviors; you and I must be transformed so it is natural and genuine. What is our enemy besides pride? A lack of passion and a propensity to be idle, waiting for something better. Friends, there is nothing more profound or better than to learn about our Lord and put His precepts to practice to build a faith and a church!
How can we Practice this Discipline? Remember, it is a discipline that needs our constant practice, to do it when we do not feel like it, so we can be more like Christ and please Him. The key is to realize that this is not a burden or a chore we must do. It is a response from our love and gratitude, and in humility, we make it a practice. It is our Fruit and character in action. And, it is a discipline because it is not something we are to do occasionally or when it is convenient. When there is an opportunity, we jump in and learn something new and with the Bible we make it a commitment and a habit. We are open for opportunities on a regular basis.
What happens when we do not practice this discipline? We will remain within ourselves, closed off to the opportunities and call Christ has given us. Thus, we miss out on so much; our faults will end up resounding into eternity rather than our faith in action. We will have an ineffectual Christian life and contribute to build a weak and feeble purposeless church. We have to be careful to watch our attitude and composure uncertainty (Rev. 3: 7-13).
- How would you define the Discipline of Study? Are you a person who desires to get more out of your journey of faith? If not, why not?
- What role does Study play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? Why does study produce joy?
- What is the cost to your life personally and to the people around you when you refuse to learn more about Christ or what is import for life and relationships?
- What happens when your church leaders refuse to teach their people to be learners of the Bible? Do you think your study habits affect those around us? How?
- The Bible is God's medium and media for communication. How does this help direct you to better make Bible Study and learning a priority and a habit?
- When have you most been active with Study the most? School or? Did you burn out with it? What can you do to reignite the fire to be a better learner and doer of His Word? How can you be a better learner of your occupation or other avenue in your life? How would that help you?
- What is the difference between Study and laziness? What causes Christians to be lazy or have an "I already know it" mentality?
- What are the benefits to Christ when you are more diligent to learn and grow? How can the Discipline of Study help you gain better knowledge, application and purpose in life?
- What would real, authentic pursuit of being better students of the Bible and life look like in your life? How about in your church?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with being better at this Discipline of Study?
- How can this Discipline of Study enable you to grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus, not just as Savior, but as Lord Almighty, so He can further empower you?
- Think through the steps that you need to take to make a better commitment and practice to Study into action in a specific instance. For example, how can you use this Discipline of Study to improve your walk with Christ? Think of an opportunity that may fit a need to teach or disciple someone. How much time are you willing to set aside each day for Bible reading for the Lord? Think about a time and place and be consistent. When will you do it? Remember, this is a discipline, and we have to keep at it!
In the classic 1960's TV show "Batman", one of my favorite scenes is the start up of the batmobile, which I considered as a lad the greatest cool car ever (I still do). Batman and Robin will get in the car and Robin would say, "atomic batteries to power, intake manifold pressure check, turbines to speed" and Batman would respond, "Roger, ready to move." Then the super car excitedly crafts through the secret bat cave and emerges ready to fight crime. What does this have to do with Study? As cool as the Batmobile was, it could not move unless it had intake of air and fuel to power its turbine engine, and that engine had to be tuned, just like any car. Study is the intake we have to God's precepts that we glean from His Word the Bible and other informative sources for our spiritual, emotional and mental enhancement. We have to study in order to gain and apply the necessary information we need for spiritual formation and personal growth.
How is this done? Simultaneously read His Word, the Bible, and pray to Christ, and remember Him as Lord. This method has been used for centuries and by the Reformers, too; it is for our spiritual growth and allows us to recognize and commune in His presence as we also learn His instructions and pray.
We Study the Bible, God's true Truth!
It comes down to the ability and availability to know truth and be able to learn and relearn what God has for us and to unlearn what is bad, harmful or false. How? Jesus calls us in John, you will know the truth. The significance of this is when we commit to and follow through with Jesus' teaching, we hold to His truth, because He is the truth. For this to happen, we must be committed and pledged followers who take our profession of faith real and go beyond initial belief to practicing our faith by following Christ. This creates joy and will set you free. This was a term that could also be applied to setting a slave free, and how wondrous it would be for them. For us, it is about that by following God's Truth will set you free from the ternary of bad thinking that leads to sin that leads to a bad or nonexistent relationship with God (John 8:32; 14:6-10; 18:37).
In order to effectively study we must have the humility to move way our assumptions and put in the work ethic and the time. We must listen, pay attention, open our ears and hear. If we are reluctant to listen, we will not learn and we will not be trained up and grow in Christ or character. When we listen, we open our minds and hearts to the Truth of our Lord. We can also hear what others are saying to sharpen us and we will know when there is error. We will be able to see what is counterfeit, hazardous, wrong, what is sin, and how to avoid it. We will be able to embrace wisdom and the joy of understanding as it brings us to better engage life and in our relationships to God and others.
When we study the Bible we are hearing God's Word. We need to understand by doing hearing His Word we grow in faith, maturity, in life and all that matters which will echo into eternity. We embark with the seed of God's precepts that is implanted in us to grow, with the Holy Spirit that waters our faith and makes our lives impacting and worthwhile. His Word cannot be planted in our hearts when all the room is taken up by our pride and personal, evil agendas or any distraction that takes us away from Him! God's Word must be an active participant in us; His words must transcend our soul and will so that they take root in us in a deep and personal way so all we do will be the result of what God has impacted in us. We are never to disconnect our Christianity from God's Truth or His call. So, to practice this discipline we must learn Who and What Christ is, what He says to know His reconciliation and Truth for our life and ministry!
When we are learners of God's instructions, we have a concern for His Truth. What is "true-Truth," because it is God's Truth, not philosophical truth that changes at a whim; rather what is absolutely true. God's truth is fact, not some idea manipulated by faulty reason, relativistic ideas, or personal or political agendas (Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:1-8; 2 Tim. 2:15; James 1:18).
When we Study the Bible we gain and practice Wisdom!
Wisdom is not just knowledge and information; rather, it is taking our intake of information into a process of renewal and transformation so we are better in faith and maturity. It is practical, spiritual insight from God's values and then application of righteousness and truth. It means to be wise, as in understanding, to ask God for comprehension, what His perspective is, to cooperate with Him, not just asking why, but rather how we can learn and grow. It is also a response of being godly, how we can please God in character and maturity (Prov. 1:2-4; 2:10-15; 4:5-9; 9:10-12; 1 Kings 3; James 1:5-8; Heb. 5:14).
It is important to note for this practice to work, be Biblical and effective, we are to "contemplate" and "deliberate," basically means we are to focus, ponder, and reflect upon Christ, pay attention to Him and give Him our total concentration and devotion as LORD over us. Why? So that we can trust Him, learn and obey, grow and apply His instructions. And, to do this best, we must put Him foremost in all of our life. As we pray, we read; as we read, we pray (Jos. 1:6; Psalm 1:2; 19:14; 63:6; 77:10-12; 119:11, 17-18, 97-102, 148; Rom. 12:1-2; Philip. 4:8; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 2:1).
Is there a problem with biblical literacy in your life and church?
I think we have a big problem with biblical literacy inAmerica today. A lack of Bible knowledge (and application, since you can't apply what you do not know) will lead to very significant problems, such as a lost focus for the church locally and internationally, the spread of apostasy, or of false teachings
Consider this. A Christian who refuses to study or is too lazy will never properly gain the information and resources to handle life, let alone be in a leadership or teaching position. They will be the gossipers, the spreaders of stifle, the negative, the angry and have lives without wisdom making them a detriment to the Kingdom. I know it is not popular in some circles today to study. We think it is work, not fun--arduous and even painful, so we avoid it and make excuses, even to the point we have a distain to those who do study and know their Word and make fun of them as over-spiritual or super Christians. Yes, study can make you arrogant; however, if one studies with the right spirit, you will be humble and better used by God and a betterment to others and your church. Would you go to a doctor who has some great ideas, but never went to medical school? Would you send your child to a teacher who never studied the subjects they are supposed to instruct your child with? No and no. Many in the church do this with God's Word and discipleship. We do not bother with it and thus the sheep are so skinny, they bite one another devoid of the Fruits and principles of God's word to build an effective, effectual life and church.
Now, I have to say up front that I did not end up knowing the Bible overnight; it took me many years-decades, in fact, and I am still getting to know His Word. I was lazy with the Bible, figuring it was more important to connect with the youth then learn His word or be a disciple or make disciples. I came to a point that I had to own up to my shortcoming in Bible literacy, I had to learn and make a commitment to be diligent buckle down, and engage it, apply it. Don't be the Christian who thinks it is unimportant and irrelevant to your faith development!
Our goal here is not just be informed, but be transformed, to get you to think and pray. To cultivate what we have learned by our focus more upon Christ and His Word!
the Discipline of Study is not just the acquisition
of knowledge to become a fat sheep, it is to be more knowledgeable and
aware and enlightened of God's precepts so we nurture them and thus are more changed
More here: Disciplines of the Faith
© 2012 R.J. Krejcir Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org