Learning to THINK...Rooted In The Bible, Part Three
What are the phases of life long learning to think?
Somewhere, early on, the mind needs to be set on fire by the Spirit to a new level of inquisitiveness. Jesus promised that “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13.
The result of the instruction of the Spirit is not just religious confession but instead is distinctive and compelling, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:14-15
In order to cooperate with this, we need to set in place reading, reflective and hermeneutical disciplines that help us in the pursuit of deeper knowledge of God already displayed in His word. We will immediately discover that lots of daily “life space” is demanded in our day of constant tumultuous noise.
Through our time with God in His word we grow in wisdom in the general knowledge of who He is, and the righteousness He designs to mature in us. Additionally, we will mature in greater self awareness and understanding of ourselves in regards to our gifts, functions and roles in our service to Him.
Along the way, we will mature in knowing where to go for the right kind of information, and, who to trust. Sadly not everyone who confesses to know God is trustable. This is one of the reasons I only half jokingly say that I prefer to read people who are already dead. I am able to measure not only what they said, but how they lived and finished the course.
My rule of thumb is to stay with thoughts that start and end with explaining scripture. So much of todays Christian, contextually interpretive ideas are too based upon human opinion, too often produce little if any righteous living and are too focused upon gathering people to events that may or may not actually advance us looking and acting like Jesus.
In spite of the present educational, cultural and even church contexts, we need to learn to read with the mind awake to the actual words, the back drop context, the relationship to other similar thoughts, and what it means to my context. This is true with biblical and non biblical literature.
Reading in such a way that we move beyond the facts, to integrating the most important thoughts into our minds, hearts and lives is vital.
2. Growing understanding
Eventually we learn to cross check everything significant with which we come into contact. No matter what the medium! Spending enough quiet time integrating our learning to date helps to grow parts into wholes. Or to say it another way, we learn to recognize the outcomes of things, rather than just the immediacy of a thought.
Eventually we need to begin to document our conclusions: Learning to depend more on Scripture as my first source of truth, rather than other people.
Eventually we will become more settled in the holism of God’s truth, rather than still detailing the pieces out of their natural Divine context. We will be able to explain in our own words, and with our own verbal defenses, what we believe in a way that is both humble and submissive.
We will discover that we have integrated enough of truth into our heart and life that the fruit of the Spirit is the evident proof of truth really learned.
We are in constant need of checking what other reliable sources are saying about the conclusions we are forming. A matured grid of thinking, now established in my being, gives us the Biblical validity of what is being said by others, and, more importantly, its potential outcomes.
We will discover that we are becoming able, quickly to check new thoughts and discoveries in our own continued pursuit of knowledge and understanding
At last. maturity gives rise to quiet conviction and submissiveness to the sovereignty of God. And, we discover that we are able to give significant help to others just beginning on the journey. We are able to cross-check by instinct the words and ideas stirring around in the larger “Christian” world.