In the spiritual discipline of study, we engage ourselves, above all, with the written and spoken Word of God. In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul tells us that we are transformed through the renewal of the mind, and that we cannot just simply copy the behavior of those around us. The discipline of study is an important vehicle by which our minds are renewed by those things that are important to God. Study will help to release us from the bondage of fear and anxieties, and replace that with the knowledge of God’s grace, which will reach the depth of our hearts, minds and souls.
Jesus said in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Without the truth, we will not be truly free. As we all know, this principle applies to every area, whether we study biology, mathematics or science. But it is especially true in reference to our spiritual walk. In this discussion, we want to focus on our study of spiritual issues.
As we learn from each other, we will be able to identify pitfalls, joys and challenges. The goal is to more fully experience the liberation that study brings.
Key Scripture: Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
- What is your favorite time of the day? When do you feel most energetic, alive and able to concentrate?
- In your own words, describe what “study” means to you, and what it does not mean.
- In 1 Timothy 4:7 we read, “Don’t waste time arguing over foolish ideas and silly myths and legends. Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit” (The Living Bible). Studying the right things is as important as studying in general. How do you determine what the right things for you to study are?
- Outside the Bible, what book, teacher, lecture, etc. have had the most profound impact on your spiritual life?
- Have you ever had the experience that after careful, analytical, serious study you changed your actions, opinion or even life style? Please share an example with the group.
He who studies only men, will get the body of knowledge without the soul; and he who studies only books, the soul without the body. He who, to what he sees, adds observation, and to what he reads, reflection, is in the right road to knowledge, provided that in scrutinizing the hearts of others, he neglects not his own.
– Caleb Colton
Why does study produce joy?
Do you think our study affects those around us? How?
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to write the laws on gates and doorposts and bind them to their wrists so that “they shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 11:18). The purpose of this instruction was to direct their minds repeatedly and regularly towards God, and his instructions on human relationships. Today, we no longer take part in that practice. But how can we discipline ourselves to regularly and repeatedly study God’s words to make it easier for his laws to be written in our hearts? What motivates you?
We live hectic, busy lives, and we are often pulled in many different directions. How can we positively encourage one another in the discipline of study?
As a group, spend some time in prayer, asking God to direct and bless our personal and collective study, so that we can know our Lord better and respond to him more fully.
Ask God to help each member to prioritize his or her life, so we can make adequate time to seek God through study.
Thank God for allowing us to know him.
Challenge for growth
- The call to study – Proverbs 1:1-9: 23:12, 23.
- The source of truth – James 1:5; Hebrews 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
- What to study – Philippians 4: 8-9; Colossians 3:1-17.
- The value of study – Luke 10:38-42.
- Active study – Ezra 7:10; James 1:19-25.
- Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
- The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard
- Committing Ourselves to Be Changed by God, Foundation of Christian Living