Discipline Of Study, The
“The Discipline Of Study”
One of the earliest disciplines that must be learned in secular education is study. This involves the sacrificing of time and hobbies to accomplish a desired outcome – a good education that will help you throughout life. If one is not willing discipline himself in this way, many difficult roads (which could have been avoided) will surely be awaiting.
It is with this basic knowledge that caring fathers and mothers urge their children during the earliest years of education to study spelling words, learn the basics of the English language, practice their math homework, memorize dates in history, and learn about the skeletal system. Yet, while the importance of completing hours of secular education study is emphasized, thorough Bible study is often neglected. A few minutes of Bible study a day often suffices! Perhaps this is true in your home. Or, perhaps, even you yourself have placed emphasis on all the wrong areas and have neglected the important discipline of Bible study. If studying secular subjects is important to our physical lives, how much more, then, is studying the word of God essential to our spiritual lives!
Psalm 119 can be an intimidating, 176 verse “chapter” in the Bible that is often neglected due to its length. Perhaps you prefer to read the 117th Psalm? Isn’t it ironic that this great Psalm details a man in love with God’s word? When was the last time you read the 119th Psalm? I encourage you to take note of how the Psalmist felt toward the testimony of the Lord! Can you honestly say that you feel the same? We will refer to some passages of this Psalm throughout this article.
Study Is A Discipline!
Proper Bible study will take discipline. It will sometimes require sacrificing things we would rather be doing in order to be a diligent student of God’s word. It will take perseverance and dedication. It will take work! If you only study when you feel like studying, you probably aren’t studying enough! Paul wrote about the importance of discipline in 1 Corinthians 9:27 – “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” We must learn such control in the area of studying God’s word.
We must seek to be a Psalm 119 man/woman when it comes to our view of God’s word! In verse 6 the Psalmist says he had his “eyes fixed on all your commandments.” In verse 16 there is delight in God’s statutes. They are his delight and counselors in verse 24. In verse 40, he longs for God’s precepts. They are better to him than “thousands of gold and silver pieces” (vs. 72). They are sweeter than honey to his mouth (vs. 103). “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (vs. 105). Can we utter those same sentiments?
But, let’s go a little bit further. It would do us a great service to push even further than just merely reading God’s word. In fact, we understand that merely reading a text book is not all that’s involved in true study. The 119th Psalm also points out some other things that ought to be done. Memorization is an important aspect of study. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (vs. 11). Jesus was able to quote Scripture in order to overcome the devil (see Matt. 4:1-11). The Israelites were always to have God’s commandments before their eyes (see Deut. 6:4-9). Memorization also leads us to be able to do the next part of study – meditation. “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97). If we do not know God’s word, we cannot fill our minds with it throughout the day!
Challenge yourself to be as in love with God’s word as you read about in the 119th Psalm! This will not simply happen, however, it will take discipline!
“Faith Comes From Hearing” (Romans 10:17)
Certainly the challenge issued above will take a great deal of discipline! Consequently, perhaps you’re asking yourself, “Why would I want to do that?” Perhaps some things can be said here to answer that question.
Why are so many weak in faith? Why are so many struggling in their spiritual lives? While there are probably many reasons and “sub-reasons,” perhaps one over-whelming reason is the lack of proper Bible study! Paul writes, “So faith comes from hearing, and haring through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). If you are solely, or even primarily, depending on “pulpit preaching” to sustain and build your faith, you will be extremely disappointed! We must each take an active role in increasing our faith by exposing ourselves to God’s word! If we do not, our faith will deteriorate.
The Scriptures are inspired of God (“breathed out by God”) and profits us in all areas, allowing us to be complete and “equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Therefore, if we neglect studying those Scriptures, we neglect preparing ourselves for every good work! In such a case, we will never be able to be the Christian God expects us to be – simply because we have not dedicated ourselves to know what He expects us to be. We will never be able to make the proper decisions in our lives simply because we have not sought His wisdom that ought to guide us! Christian, if you want to be prepared to do all that God wants you to do, you must study!
One day, we will be judged as to how we have lived our lives on this earth (2 Cor. 5:10). The criteria for judgment will be the word of God (John 12:48). If you do not study, you will not be ready! Psalm 119:155 says, “Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.”
3 Simple Suggestions For Your Study
Perhaps you find it difficult to study the word of God. Perhaps you are simply disinterested in study. Or, perhaps you are preoccupied with other things around you. Whatever your situation is, consider these 3 suggestions as you prepare to study.
1. Study the Bible as God’s revelation to man. Don’t study the Scriptures as just another book. Study the Bible as the book that has its origin in God! Study it seriously and reverently. Study it as if you will answer for it before the Almighty God one day and your eternity weighs in the balance – because, it does!
2. Let the Bible be real. Too many study the Bible as an uninteresting piece of literature. Study the Bible as God’s word that contains real people in real situations. Allow yourself to be engulfed by the circumstances, the instructions, and the outcomes! Put yourself “in their shoes” and, be certain to, make the necessary applications to your own life!
3. Be self-disciplined! This cannot be stressed enough. You must be disciplined when you study! That will involve eliminating distractions, controlling your thoughts, and asking God for help. Don’t get discouraged, keep pushing yourself! Just don’t quit!
Are you a Psalm 119 man/woman? If not, will you dedicate yourself to be one? Studying the word of God is too important to neglect! Be certain that you practice the discipline of study!
- Eric Krieg -
”Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved