Spiritual Disciplines Course

Introduction to the Discipline of Study.

The process that occurs in study should be distinguished from meditation:

The principle task of study is a perception into the reality of a given situation, encounter, book, etc.

Study involves four steps:

  1. Repetition
    Repetition channels the mind in a specific direction regularly, thus forming ingrained habits, and even changing old habits.

  2. Concentration
    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 step.

  3. Comprehension
    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.

  4. Reflection
    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.

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.


ACCUMULATION OF INFORMATION DOES NOT EQUAL WISDOM
OR EVEN KNOWLEDGE
(unless that information or knowledge has led to transformation)

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:

  1. Understanding
    What is the author saying?

  2. Interpreting
    What does the author mean?

  3. Evaluating
    Is the author right or wrong? (We must not do this first - we should seek first to understand and interpret before we judge)

There are also external factors that must be taken into account both while reading and after reading:

  1. Experience
    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).

  2. 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 properly understand.

  3. 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.

Remember:


Exercises:

Read the whole of the letter to the Ephesians in the Bible as many times as possible. Take careful note of the following:


An alternative exercise for a group (6-12 people):

  1. Repetition
    Each person read James 2: 14-26 aloud (it helps to have a few different translations of this text).

  2. Concentration
    Spend some time in personal contemplation. Try to:
  3. Comprehension
    Spend some time discussing your personal observations (above) together.

  4. Reflection
    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:

Reading

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

Focus

The Call to Study
The Source of Truth
What to Study
The Value of Study
Active Study
Study in the Evangelistic Enterprise
The Study of a Non-Verbal Book


Back to the course