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14. Learning how to learn

The Master's Instructions about the Christian life. (1 Timothy 4:1-16).

Prayer has sometimes been likened to the air we breathe. If prayer is the Christian’s breath, then the Bible is certainly the Christian’s food. Life is dependent upon certain things and the Christian life needs both prayer and the word to keep it healthy. The parallel may be taken even further. New-born Christians should be careful not to eat too much, nor

to tackle Bible passages that are too hard to begin with. Equally they must take sufficient of God’s word to remain in good spiritual health and to show signs of growth.

1 Peter 1:24-2:3 tells us how we can grow up into the salvation we now

have, and 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 speaks of a church where this maturing

process had not taken place. Consequently the believers in Corinth were

in all kinds of trouble.

The preaching and Bible teaching in a local church is one way in which God

speaks to individual Christians. Basic discipleship courses such as this one

are designed to help in the growth of healthy Christian lives by feeding a

careful diet of balanced nutritional value to the new Christian. However,

because of the differing levels of spiritual maturity and experience

within any congregation, there will be times when we do not understand

what is being taught. Even in our own Bible reading we come across some

things that are easier to understand than others.

Paul’s advice to Timothy is good for us too. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and

then keep in mind the parallel between the Bible and our everyday food.

1. Eat little and often.

2. Eat regularly.

3. Eat a varied diet, not the same thing over and over again.

4. Eat some things that are good for you even if you don’t like them

5. Exercise regularly or else eating will make you fat!

(In other words put into practice what is learned.)

There are a variety of aids available to help your learning. Do not rely on

someone else providing nourishment once or twice a week.

1. Regularly attend church services and teaching classes.

2. Try to memorise a verse of Scripture each week. Perhaps you

could write it on a small card and carry it with you to read during

odd moments of the day.

3. Read a little passage from the Bible every day.

4. Keep a note of what God says to you. It may helps to write it down

in a diary. Note the promises that apply to you, the warnings that

point out the pitfalls ahead. If there are things you don’t

understand, write them down and ask a Christian friend to help you

when you can.

5. Progress into studying the Bible rather than just reading it. A

concordance might be used to list verses on a similar theme.

Verses about a particular person or people can be compared. You

can study the chronological story. Prophecy and its fulfilment may

be checked. You can learn how to correctly divide God’s word of


Always remember that babies need milk to begin their lives, but if they

are still on milk after ten years there has to be something wrong.

Other scriptures to read: Psalm 1:1-3; 119:11; Acts 2:42; 17:11; Romans 10:17;

1 Timothy 4:13, 15-16; 2 Timothy 2:15.

The Bible helps you to get up and grow.

Discussion guide for ‘Learning How to Learn’

Reading 1 Timothy 4:1-16.

1. Verses 1-3, and 7, point out a real danger. What is it?

2. 2Timothy 3:10-11 and verse 14 give an important way of knowing a

true teacher from a false teacher. What is it?

3. Explain from 1 Peter 1:24-2:3 how the Bible, and its true teaching,

is like “milk” for the growing Christian. How do you know that the

new Christian is spiritually healthy?

4. Explain from Psalm 1:1-3 how the Bible, and its true teaching, is like

“a fruitful tree” for the growing Christian. How can other people

see the Christian is spiritually healthy?

5. What do you think is the difference between “Bible reading” and

“Bible study”? Why is it important to progress on from one to the


6. Share with the group examples of good practice in Bible study that

you know about and have found helpful. Let other people ask

questions of you.

7. Why is the teaching and preaching at a local church sometimes

difficult or seemingly irrelevant to you? What can you profitably

do when it is?

8. Why not start a small group from your church, or in your workplace

or school, studying your Bibles together and using this course as a

guide to help you (and them) understand and apply it to daily life?


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