Using our minds well is a big part of Christian discipleship. In a previous post, I covered the importance of learning and how it connects with our love for the Lord. In this post, I want to highlight a couple of ways we can learn.
Learn Your Bible
Our main diet for learning in our Christian life should be the Word of God. In an introduction to his books, Martin Luther stated, “I only ask in all kindness that the man who wishes at this time to have my books will by no means let them be a hindrance to his own study of the Scriptures…” As Christians, the Bible alone is our ultimate authority, and we should first read it, meditate on it, journal it, pray it, and learn from it. This is how our minds will be transformed (Romans 12:2).
Slow Down, Ask Questions
In previous posts, I discussed reading our Bibles, memorizing them, and studying them. Still, I want to briefly touch on the thought that we should read our Bibles to learn. Sometimes we jump straight to “how does this affect my life,” and we should desire to apply the Bible, but I fear that we are often so quick to jump to the application that we don’t search out the deep truths of God. Frequently the deep truths will stir our hearts to praise God. Asking questions while we are reading the Bible is a great way to dive deeper.
Don’t Just Learn Bible Facts, Learn About God
When we think about learning, we might default to mastering facts. Facts and information are useful, but they are not enough. For Christians, we cannot disconnect what is right about God, His world, and His interactions with it, from God himself. We see this clearly on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. Here people are debating and discussing different things that have been happening, and Jesus shows up and rebukes them. He shows them how all of the Bible is ultimately about Him. Jesus emphasizes both a right understanding of the Bible and teaching the Bible is more than a book of facts and details – it’s ultimately about Him.
Learn From Others
The Bible is our ultimate authority, and yet we are not meant to be alone. We need one another. Sometimes you hear Christians say all I need is my Bible the Holy Spirit will teach me through it. The Holy Spirit’s primary role in studying the Bible is not understanding the passage but pressing it into our hearts and making us submit to the teaching. So we need others as well to help us understand. Many of us have blind spots, and we can read the Bible through our own lenses that are influenced by our upbringing, culture, age, etc. God has given us others so we can learn even more from His Word. What are some ways?
Spoken – Sermons, Podcasts, Lessons, Hanging Out With Friends
There are many opportunities for you to learn from others. I would recommend that you incorporate corporate elements into your regular disciplines. Be careful of being isolated and over individualized in your approach to the Christian life. We are meant for community, yes, even if you are an introvert.
Attending church, Sunday School, and Bible Studies is a way for you to learn with others. You do this by praying together, singing together, paying attention to teaching, and discussing with one another in small groups. Here’s what I have told my students, “Listen, some of you might be here because you have to be. If that is you, I just want to challenge you: praise God that someone cares enough to say go to youth group because it’s important. But also understand that this gracious push in your life will not always be there. Will you run away from this blessing after you graduate, or will you get plugged into small groups – whether Sunday School, Bible Studies, or Prayer Groups?”
Written – Books, Magazines, Blogs, Social Media
There are also opportunities to learn through printed media. I have personally benefitted from books, magazines, blogs, and -yes – even social media. Part of this is learning discernment in picking books that are worth the time that you give them.
Let me suggest a few things that might be helpful!
Blog for students: therebelution.com
Blogs for adults: thegospelcoalition.org; desiringgod.org; challies.com
Book lists: http://headhearthand.org/top-10
A few of my favorite books: The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung; Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax; The Imperfect Disciple by Jared Wilson; Worldly Saints by Mike Wittmer
When you read a book, argue with the author, think about how adequately they explain Scripture, or if they might be off-base. Read it with other people and get their perspective.
Learn for God’s Glory
As you are learning and growing in your knowledge of the Lord, make sure you are reflecting on the beauty of who this God is. The more we know, the more we are accountable and that we can reflect on God. We will also be able to teach others more effectively and pursue Him more passionately. Ask God to help you pick a few ways that are helpful to keep feeding yourself. Don’t be content with things that merely sound good but aren’t causing any growth. When you are run down, remember that Christ perfectly loved God with his mind in your place. Your hope is in him!
 Luther, Martin. Works of Martin Luther With Introductions and Notes (Volume I) (Kindle Locations 95-96). Kindle Edition.