Learn To Study
I get it: I taught Study Skills and Strategies for several years to middle school-aged teens, and I understand it isn’t an easy task, neither do many enjoy the task. Solomon himself said, “much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12) Even after all these years of preaching and teaching, I must admit struggles with concentrating, avoiding distractions, and even “mustering the desire” at times to study. Yet, according to 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Timothy 4:15, Colossians 3:16, and a host of other passages, God has given us no option: WE MUST STUDY HIS WORD, LEARN IT WELL, AND OBEY IT!
Each of us has been granted a mind, and into that mind, we must place all the items that will properly direct us, protect us, and provide for us in life. Peter told us, “According as His (God’s) divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3) But you’ll notice God did NOT grant us this information without the necessity of study! The information is available; our work is to obtain that information, learn it, and obey it. This practice is called “study.”
There are various ways to study the same material. One of the “skills” I had to learn as a supervisor of “Study Skills and Strategies” was how to help children retain what they needed to learn. Some did better when taking notes as they read. Others had to have the material read to them, and even then, they learned to make notations. Others needed to underline or even highlight various facts so they could remember. Reading the same material three and four times was not uncommon! We also taught students how to use “comparative references” and carefully discern whether these things were speaking of the same things or other things. They had to search carefully and study the context to find the answers.
While various “methods” exist for study, there remain but two essentials: DESIRE and TIME. Since the material has been provided (2 Peter 1:3), all that remains for the student to furnish is DESIRE and TIME. The more desire you provide, the more time you will need to provide. However, if the desire is strong enough, time is a very small factor! You will find “time flies” when you are driven to study God’s word. And you will be amazed at what you learn as you study. The more you study, the more you will want to study, and you’ll soon find yourself “hungering and thirsting after righteousness” so much, that studying God’s word becomes your life, not simply a part of your life.
Be careful about saying, “I don’t like to read or study.” What else has God commanded of you that you “don’t like?” Some don’t like to sing – they need to learn! Some don’t like to pray – they need to learn! Some don’t like to give as they’ve prospered – they need to learn! Some don’t like to commune with God and His children – they need to learn! There isn’t a single commandment of God that is negotiable with Him: so, we need to learn to study, like it or not! Time is granted by God as well, and we are accountable for how we use that time! Surely, we can eliminate one or more of our “personal pleasures” and replace them with time for God and His Word.
Parents express great concern for their children when their “study habits” for school diminish. Why not the same or greater concern for their “spiritual education?” Might I suggest that many parents fail to display much concern themselves for such eternally crucial matters? When is the last time your children joined you, parents, for an hour of Bible study at home? Sending your children to a Bible class while you sit silently in an adult class isn’t the equivalent to study, either! Many parents send their children to a classroom for one purpose only: to gain thirty to sixty minutes of “free babysitting” while they sit silently in another room listening (not studying!) to someone speak about a passage they should have studied themselves! I’m serious: would we see an increase or decrease of attendance if we actually TESTED students in Bible classes regarding what each was STUDYING and LEARNING?
Why not take a few minutes when you get home from services to ask each other, “What did you learn today?” and discuss those matters?
Too many are much too passive with truthful Bible study! They cry, “Teach me,” which really means, “Tell me what it means instead of me having to figure this out.” The eunuch was asked, “Do you understand?” He answered, “How can I unless some man guides me?” But notice his willingness and eagerness to LEARN what he STUDIED! There is the difference with many in today’s world – the willingness to LEARN what they STUDIED! Many today want everything done for them … including learning and obeying! I suspect they’d have someone go to judgment for them if could arrange such a feat!
Friends, God told us to STUDY. We can’t ignore that commandment any more than we can ignore hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and being immersed into Christ for the remission of our sins! Let’s get busy with the task and become true STUDENTS of His word and not mere “pupils.” Let’s become His SERVANTS and never be content with being “served.”