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  • Writer's pictureDwight Smith

Learning to THINK...Rooted In The Bible, Part Four


What are the disciplines to life long learning to think, rooted in the Bible?

1. Regeneration

New Birth is also a new beginning. Through it, God opens up the fullest potential possible this side of eternity of the image of Himself in Man.

The very nature of the divine design imaged upon us, seen in Genesis 1-2 is potentially and partially restored in those who have been born again in Jesus. We are free to think, unbounded to the despotic control of the flesh. Our thinking has as its goal righteousness, but is also enriched by the righteousness we have already received in Jesus.

2. New birth opens potential new pathways to healing

As we see so clearly in Hebrews 4:12-16, the word of God has been designed by God to bring life long healing. At the moment of natural birth, we are born damaged. Sin has corrupted the image and likeness of God. New birth opens up the pathways for God to begin to heal the residue of the past and progressively heal the gateways that the flesh uses to dominate.

We can learn to think in concert with God’s desires as we submit to the Spirit of God using the word of God to enlighten and bring direction.

New birth means that we can embrace each new day as one which is meant by God to be our arena of representing Him and stewarding the assets He places in our hands.

New birth means that we can mature in setting relational disciplines into life: silence, solitude and submission.

3 Our part in the journey of righteousness is to build a pattern of dedicated time into every week when, with the Word as the platform, we read and study.

The Bible is the best starting point for all learning. Any topic one wants to pursue can rise out of Biblical study. Doing so, allows the Spirit of God to begin to build the “holism’s” of God’s story and not just expertise in one or more of the parts.

Doing so allows us to see how what others think, actually conforms to Scripture. Doing so reinforces the primacy of Scripture over and in all things.

4. Ask those on the journey ahead of me, which authors actually impacted the way they think. Those who want to learn to think, ought not be too swayed away from books that have stood the test of time. If we are to begin with Scripture as the ground for our pursuit, then only those authors, who have been shown to be able to do so, need be consulted.

5. Learn how to “eat and digest” what we are reading. The sheer amount of books in the world about any and every topic demands that the thinking person learn how to focus their reading and take out of each relevant book, the information needed to advance understanding.

A good discipline is not to underline everything one sees, but to underline only the thoughts most germane to the reason you picked up the book in the first place.

Learn to recognize primary thoughts from secondary thoughts. Take note of the primary thoughts, and note them down. Respond to the primary thoughts by recording your “mental dialogue” with them. Jot down as well, any of YOUR conclusions that come to your mind.

6. Learn to advance your knowledge into understanding by recording what you are learning. From time to time, create your own documented statements (essay, paper, article, or book). Even if they are incomplete, they reflect the beginning of a more comprehensive understanding on your part, not someone else’s, of the mind and will of God.

7. As you move from the discovery phase to the growing integration phase, collate new learning into your growing documentation of the learning to date.

If you have been faithful in documenting what you believe as a result of what you read, whether in outline or written out form, growth thoughts will be easy to add.

The new growth thoughts will check, correct, reinforce and/or advance what you have already written. The documentation is for you. You are not writing for publication.

A reminder of why I wrote this four part series.

Obviously the ideas in this four part series on learning to think do not encompass all of the reading and thinking that one will do in a lifetime. But, as surrounded as we are, and as influenced as we have become by form (how we do things) issues, and not function (why we do things) issues, learning to think is a first priority for this generation.

The need is made more urgent because the proliferation of available human knowledge is so readily accessible. So many of those ideas come encumbered and unchecked as to their presuppositions and motivations.

Spending too much time in form books, that will not stand the test of time, and not function books, that have stood the test of time, will: 1. Deter us from the most important truths. 2. Steer us away from the most important issues. 3. Cause us to exacerbate the challenge of nominalism rife in the Church today. 4. Stunt the creative cognitive powers available to all of us as image bearers of the Creator, and unleashed by our rebirth through His Son.


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