In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.


STUDY: the intentional process of engaging the mind with the written / spoken Word of God and with the world God has created; conforming the mind to that on which it concentrates. 

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~ Psalm 119:105

At the foundation of all The Spiritual Disciplines is God’s Word. The best way we can learn more about God and grow closer to Him is to study the Bible. As a young boy Jesus studied the Torah. Scripture records him spending time with the teachers in the Temple. We must follow Jesus’ example and spend time studying Scripture. What we study becomes implanted in us. And the best way to be transformed from the inside out is to not just study but meditate on and even memorize Scripture.

Quality Time With God

When we spend time alone with God in His Word we can learn about God’s love for us and the truth that will bring us salvation. Through our faithful study of God’s Word we will be taught, directed, protected and even healed. God wants a relationship with us and a healthy relationship takes time to build.

Be Intentional About Study

The Spiritual Discipline of Study encompasses more that just learning about God from the Bible. We can spend time in nature and with other valuable books to grow closer with God. What’s most important is that we are intentional about what we study, making sure that where we spend our time and energy, what we focus and meditate on, is what we want to be planted in our heart, mind and soul. We will become like what we meditate on.

Transformation Will Come

God’s Word can speak to our circumstances/pain/heartache in the most mysterious way. However, for that to happen requires that we sacrifice our time to study. When we do, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Living Word of God will bring about the transformation that’s needed.

Watch/listen to this touching song by MercyMe and allow the Word of God to speak to your heart today.

Celebrate Discipline : STUDY

Whether college students or students of life, when trying to learn something new we need the discipline of study. It’s the same when it comes to our personal spiritual growth. Let’s look at how we can become better students of and for God.

Our goal of integrating the Spiritual Disciplines into our lives is to transform our total person; to re-place old destructive thoughts and habits with new life-giving ones. Today we’ll learn four steps that will help us make the most of our valuable study time. But first let’s look at our definitions for this week:

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: habits that nurture spiritual growth; exercises unto godliness.

STUDY: application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge.

The Bible tells us that we are transformed through the renewal of our mind. And our mind becomes renewed as we apply the things we’ve learned in new habits. Some of us have naturally good study habits but many of us need help in this area. 

Here are four steps that I learned from Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline:

  • REPETITION ~ channels our mind in a specific direction by ingraining thoughts. Whether rereading, re-writing or reciting material aloud, repetition always works for me.
  • CONCENTRATION ~ our brain’s natural ability is enhanced by centering our energies on our subject of study. Remove distractions and find a quiet place where you can focus. Again key for me.
  • COMPREHENSION ~ understanding what we are studying is not always an easy task, but when we put the previous steps to work, comprehension is more achievable. Before we know it we have that light-bulb moment!
  • REFLECTION ~ once we have defined our subject through comprehension we are ready to bring significance to what we have learned. With reflection we can now apply what we have learned to our life.

Whether listening to audio books, studying nature on a daily walk,  or doing an intense scripture study, there are many ways we can become attune to the message of God’s love in our lives. 

One of the most important things I’ve learned from Richard Foster these last several years is don’t get stuck reading only current books or publications. By alternating classic Christian literature into my reading, more depth has come into my spiritual learning experience. Now the classics are my preference.

If you are unfamiliar with Christian classics I encourage you to check out Spiritual Classics by Richard Foster. This excellent book contains excerpts from many of the greatest books ever written. It’s designed like a devotional or can be used as a small group study. 

Whatever your do turn off the TV, put down the smart phone and pick up a good book. You won’t be sorry!

What’s your favorite Christian classic book?

Click here to watch How to Study the Bible with Joyce Meyer and Rick Renner.


Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun