The Spiritual Discipline of Study
School's out for summer! But learning never stops. As Christians, study is an essential Christian discipline. We know that studying the Bible and other related materials helps us to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:2).
Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline, defines study as, "the process whereby our minds take on an order conforming to the order of whatever we concentrate upon." If our minds take the shape of whatever we are concentrating on, then it's especially important that we are careful with what we put in our minds. This is probably why the apostle Paul exhorts us to think about, "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable (Philippians 4:8)"
I was thinking about studying because I'm actually "away" taking a class this week (now on zoom) . Through the wonder of internet technology was able to write this post ahead of time and set it to publish while I'm away!
This summer I'm taking a couple of courses for a Doctorate of Ministry program (DMin). I love learning, and I especially love learning material that helps me grow in my faith and enhances my ability to be a pastor to this congregation.
Also, as a spiritual practice, I've been making my way through this NRSV Daily Study Bible that breaks the reading up into 365 days. I find some of the readings too long for the few minutes that I have each day...so it's taking much, much longer than a year. Oh well :)
Do you have a discipline of study? What about a daily Bible study time?
PS: I will starting a 6 week summer zoom book study group on July 6 on Survival Guide for the Soul. More info coming in soon our email newsletter. You're invited!
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Psalm 119:34 - 37
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.