Spiritual Formation Part Ten – Study

As far as spiritual formation goes, we sometimes forget about the spiritual discipline of study.

To quote Dallas Willard from the book The Making of an ordinary Saint, by Nathan Foster, “We need to understand that Jesus was a thinker, that this is not a dirty word but an essential work, and that his other attributes do not preclude thought, but only ensure that he is certainly the greatest thinker of the human race: “the most intelligent person who ever lived on earth.””

Nathan Foster in that same book notes that there are 4 steps to study when seen as a spiritual discipline:

  1. Repetition
  2. Concentration
  3. Comprehension
  4. Reflection

Unfortunately many people believe that they have the intellectual ability to interpret scripture by just reading scripture – now I’m not saying some don’t, but I believe it’s rare without study. Add to that many don’t have study bibles or commentaries to do serious study. Fortunately the internet offers many study opportunities for study if you can find a trusted source.

In seminary the only bible we were allowed to use was the New Revised Standard Version. Scholars at the Candler School of Theology felt it was the cleanest translation. Of course the actual bible can be found on the internet for free as well as many commentators in any version you like.

I personally spend most of my time using the New International Version study bible as well as other commentaries.

So, the spiritual discipline of study has never been easier. This might be the one that provides a catalyst for your spiritual growth.

Remember the disciplines that seem the hardest, if we stick with it, may be the best. Also, some disciplines may work for a season and will need to be revisited in the future. Do what works for you! Just do it!

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