The following blog post is an extract taken from our Food for the Journey booklet which covers seven disciplines for Christian living. If you would like to download a digital copy of the booklet and work through the daily devotions please click here: FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY
THE DISCIPLINE OF STUDY
Knowledge is information + understanding = application.
For the Hebrews in the O.T., knowledge was not an accumulation of facts or concepts. For them reality was what happens and knowledge meant understanding what was happening. Knowledge of God meant not thoughts and ideas about God, but recognizing and obeying the One who acted purposefully in understanding what He’s doing and then co-operating with Him.
It is no different for us. The Lord speaks strongly through the prophets in the O.T. warning against lack of knowledge – lack of knowledge of the Lord and His ways – which leads us from Him and gets us into trouble. The apostle Paul in the letter to the Ephesians said: “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,” ch1.v17. Paul as an apostle understood the importance to our journey of an increasing knowledge of the Lord.
How do we acquire the knowledge? As in every aspect of our journey with the Lord the Holy Spirit is indispensable for our understanding of the Scriptures and a true interpretation of what we have read and need to apply. Before any Bible Study there should be prayer asking the Spirit to help us understand what we are studying and how it applies to us and what we need to think, do, or feel about it.
A Bible dictionary, commentary and concordance are useful tools to Bible Study. Certain Bibles have commentaries and concordances in them and are worth the extra cost.
The Biblical concept of knowledge therefore means the combination of information, understanding and application. We can’t claim to “know something” until these three have come together for us.
Growing in knowledge through understanding and application, will develop in us a keen listening ear, discernment (wrong from right, what is of God and what is not) wisdom (not our own opinions – but strong biblical understanding,) it will assist in responsible, faithful decision-making, will correct and instruct us, maintain in us a consistent understanding of the Lord. So as you can see it is a vital discipline!
It must never be just an academic exercise or superficial study. This discipline will always to talking to our hearts and looking for our response. At the same time we will find we are energized and refreshed as we discover new things, new ways of looking at the Lord, new ability to live as a faithful Christian, hope and encouragement as we meet ourselves in some of the characters of the Bible and their struggles, failures, joys, situations and longings.
In your quiet times, as you work through this discipline, you will be gaining experience in how to use the Bible to gain knowledge. May you have a very blessed time. Remembering your discoveries and sharing with your fellowship group will bless them, and remind them of their need to be faithful to this discipline. Your fellowship group leaders will do their best to help you, rest assured of that. They too are continually learning and trying to apply what they have learnt.