Spiritual Disciplines Course
Introduction to the Discipline of Study.
The process that occurs in study should be distinguished from
The principle task of study is a perception into the reality
of a given situation, encounter, book, etc.
- Meditation is devotional - Study is Analytical.
- Meditation will relish a word - study will explicate it.
- Study provides a certain objective framework within which meditation can
Study involves four steps:
We must be willing to be subject to the subject matter. We
must approach study with humility that God can teach us and change us,
not arrogance that we know everything.
Repetition channels the mind in a specific direction regularly, thus forming
ingrained habits, and even changing old habits.
Concentration centres the mind and focuses attention. We live in a world
that is full of distractions and so it is difficult to focus and concentrate on
one thing, but if we do, it will lead us to understanding which is the next
Comprehension focuses on the knowledge of truth. When we
suddenly move from repetition to comprehension it is a lot like a bolt of
lightening. That kind of understanding of the truth catapults us to a new
level of growth and freedom.
Understanding leads to insight and discernment, upon which we reflect. this
allows us to see things from God's perspective. We may even come to
understand ourselves and God's purpose for us more clearly.
ACCUMULATION OF INFORMATION DOES NOT EQUAL
OR EVEN KNOWLEDGE
(unless that information or knowledge has led to
We are in search of Experiential Knowledge in the
Christian Discipline of Study.
In our search for knowledge and comprehension there are three intrinsic and
three extrinsic rules that govern our study:
While reading we need to look at the following:
There are also external factors that must be taken into account both while
reading and after reading:
What is the author saying?
What does the author mean?
Is the author right or wrong? (We must not do this first - we should seek
first to understand and interpret before we judge)
The only way we can relate to the material is when we relate it to our own
experience (this may also change us if necessary).
- Other Books
Books often have meaning only when read in relation to other writings. We
need to allow these thoughts to interact with one another in order to
- Live Discussion
Often it is only in discussion or even debate that we fully realise the meaning
of something or its significance in our lives. Others may have a different
insight that we lack.
Read the whole of the letter to the Ephesians in the Bible as many
times as possible. Take careful note of the following:
- Structure and Flow
- Areas of Difficulty (make a note to return to them once you have read the
- Thoughts and Impressions (jot them down to reflect on later ).
An alternative exercise for a group (6-12 people):
Each person read James 2: 14-26 aloud (it helps to have a few different
translations of this text).
Spend some time in personal contemplation. Try to:
- Understand - What is the author saying?
- Interpret - What does he mean?
- Evaluate - Is he right or wrong?
- Relate it to your own Experience.
Spend some time discussing your personal observations (above)
What is the significance of this for us?
How can we apply it to our lives?
What is he saying, how does he want me/us to change?
Alternate Bible Readings for Study:
Proverbs 1: 1-9; 23: 12, 23
James 1: 5; Hebrews 4: 11-13; 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
Philippians 4: 8-9; Colossians 3: 1-17
Luke 10: 38-42
Ezra 7: 10; James 1: 19-25
Acts 17: 1-3 & 10-12; 19: 8-10
Proverbs 24: 30-34
The Call to Study
The Source of Truth
What to Study
The Value of Study
Study in the Evangelistic Enterprise
The Study of a Non-Verbal Book
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