So we know how Christian Study is different from part 1, we’ve talked about what to Study in part 2, but even with all that I love to study I still know I am often NOT studying the way I should, why then do we not study and how can we get around those excuses?
The short answer is we can ALWAYS find an excuse for NOT studying the way we should, regardless of what we are trying to study. After all even the Bible says in Hebrews 12:2
“at the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
The biggest excuse, and it’s just that an excuse, is “I don’t have enough time.” Truth is we all have the exact same amount of time every day, 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds every day. The real question isn’t about not having enough time, it’s about not having good priorities.
We can always find time for something that is important to us; the trick is to make our Christian Study a priority in a way that works for you. For me I struggle with finding time every day to study, pray, and examine my Christian priorities because of having a family, job, and many other priorities; so I’ve set aside time in the morning before I get my work day started to take 30 minutes at my desk to read or study something related to my Christian Walk.
I have to do this early in my day or it just won’t happen. A tip that can help, or at least helps me, is to track doing this in a habit forming app I use one called “Coach.me” and it really helps me to track what I do.
Another common excuse is that well I don’t know what to study.
So how would you?
Duh, you ask.
Ask those around you that are fellow journeymen on the Christian walk; pastors, church leaders, and fellow Christians of all types. For that matter visit a local Christian bookstore or the religion section of Amazon and browse.
Which leads immediately to the next most common excuse, I don’t like to read. Well that one is easy to shoot down too. Remember the length of the book or the length of time you read isn’t really the requirement to make progress in your study, instead it’s more important to sustain the study over time, 30 minutes a day every day can take you far.
The average adult reads 250 words per minute, so let’s say you are only “half average” and read 125 words a minute. The average book is 64,000 words so it would take you 512 minutes or about 8 and ½ hours to read the book. At 30 minutes a day that’s 17 days of reading or about 2 ½ weeks.
Forming accountability groups or book clubs can help make it fun and more interesting and easy as well. You can sign up for a course either in person or online, there are dozens that range from major courses of study to informal blogs and educational sites. You can find alternatives to books that include magazines, videos (I love the ones from Sherwood Pictures like Facing the Giants and Courageous), even listening to Christian radio can help you study the gospel.
Another common excuse is that the Bible is hard to understand or boring.
Well thank you captain obvious.
But really that’s WHY we have to study it, if it was easy then it wouldn’t require study.
There are things you can do to help though. First off there are many versions of the Bible and sometimes reading more than one can help (my Bible quotes in this talk were from the Message, others have been quoting from other versions, pick a version that YOU like).
You can use study Bibles and Commentaries to help understand the difficult parts of the Bible.
You can also find study material and use those. Either alone or in a group setting including many small group study guides like Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded.
Another common excuse is that I can’t study Christian Material I’m not a theologian I can’t study all this religious stuff (that’s the technical term). Well, a theologian is someone who studies God, so if you are a Christian and you study your experience as a child of God you ARE a theologian.
If you begin to study and think about how you experience it, is this something logical, biblical, and Godly, how would you explain this to someone else in your own words?
That’s theological study.
To be successful at Christian Study you have to develop a personal study style.
You have to make study a priority. You have to find a regular time that works for you, I mentioned earlier it was morning for me but others use lunch breaks or evening times.
Finding a time that works for you is important to success.
Using daily devotional guides like the Upper room can help.
Using apps like You Version to set up a regular Bible reading plan can help, I’ve provided a list of several good resources that can be used for study here. If you have a long commute use audio books or have an app that reads the Bible aloud to you.
Find a place that is comfortable to you, quiet, where you can keep your study tools. Make sure that you don’t just study one thing but study all of the various areas of Christian study, but don’t try to do it all at once.
Keep a journal and make notes of things that you find interesting or want to follow up on later.
Christian study is something that we must continue throughout our life not just do when preparing for one of those tests I work on or while you are in school. To be maturing in your Christianity you have to continue studying throughout your life not just as a youth.
The world will bring change throughout but your response to that change is your choice. You can let the world make you change or you can allow God to change you.
For me I truly believe the words of Christ shared in John 8:32
“Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The study I do today is not study for the attention of my Father, to hide from my Father, no today the study I do is for the Glory of my Heavenly Father. I invite you to find a way to be intentional in growing, with grace, a bit more into the image of God and the mind of Christ.
I’ll provide a list of some of the resources I use next week.
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