Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Spiritual Discipline: Study

by Kent Perigo (from Vertical)

Study is defined as “the application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge; as by reading, investigation, or reflection.” We study to prepare for tests, our careers and hobbies, so why shouldn’t we study what is most important to us: God, those close to us, ourselves and life.  When you are around people long enough, you will come to know how they are feeling, what they mean to say, and what they need.  With God this becomes more difficult, which brings us to Scripture.

The Bible reveals God in a way that nature can’t.  While we can’t fully comprehend all that God is, He has revealed plenty to give us a reliable framework through which to understand Him and ourselves.  Will studying remove the wonder and mystery of God?  No.  It will actually increase it as you discover all of the facets of His nature and works.

So to be able to obey the command to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, you need to both know God and know about God.  Throughout the Bible, God emphasizes the importance of knowledge as a necessary part of our maturity so that we would be effective and fruitful (2 Peter 1:3-9).  The Bible is a magnificent treasure just waiting to be explored and mined.

Thankfully, God has blessed us with access to many good Bible study resources.  This is extremely important because before you can apply what God is teaching you in His Word, you need to discover what He was saying to the original readers in their culture and situations.  Once you know what God has revealed to them (and then you), what you should believe and what He wants you to do (or not do), I encourage you to learn how to pray and meditate on Scripture.  Christians have long understood that when we set our minds on the things of God (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:2) the Spirit takes what we have learned and applies them to our minds and hearts.

You might also find it helpful to write down what you have learned and keep your notes organized, constantly adding to them as you continue to grow in Christ.  This will be invaluable as you go through trials and need to review what you have learned for reassurance and comfort, without sorting through all of your notes in the margins of your Bible.

“True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self.”—John Calvin

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