One of the primary definitions of the word “disciple” is that of a student. A disciple finds a teacher and learns everything they can from them. If we are disciples and we are not intentional in studying we are neglecting an important part of our new life in Jesus.
I’ve found that one big obstacle to studying is that it conjures up the images of trying to understand some subject we hated in school. The problem with this way of looking at studying is that we will end up never really do it! But if we think of studying as spending more time with something we already have some understanding of, we will find our time to be more fruitful.
There are so many concepts, ideas, and promises in the Bible. If we would spend more time with one of them, trying to see it from as many angles as possible, we will be studying more effectively. Studying God’s word, and thinking deeply about the truths God has revealed requires extended times of reflection. The longer we consider something we increase our ability to see something we have never seen before.
When I try and explain this idea to people, I ask them if they have ever done a “Where’s Waldo Puzzle?” It is the kind of game that requires looking very closely at the image and paying attention to details. What makes the puzzle more difficult is that answer is right in front of you, but you have to pay attention to details. This is essentially the attitude we should adopt when reading and studying the Scriptures.
There are aspects of the scriptures that are “obvious” than others. But we should not move on so quickly. We should seek mastery not merely consuming large amounts of information. Having more information is not the goal. Making sure that we understand what we know is a far more invaluable way of engaging with God’s word.
This is one of the aspects of Lent we don’t always take advantage of. During Lent, we are called to contemplate more intently the wonderful Gospel news. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.