6 min. to read.
A good ol’ boy and his 5-year old son were out fishing early one morning. As usual the boy couldn’t be quiet. He was full of questions.
“Hey dad, how come the dragon flies hover like that?” To which dad replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.” A minute later, “Hey dad, how come the water’s blue like that?” Dad’s reply? “Don’t rightly know, son.” Another minute passed. “Hey dad, where do all fish go in the winter?” “Don’t rightly know, son.” It went on and on like this for the whole morning.
As they started packing up to head home the little guy looked up and asked, “Hey dad, do all my questions bother you?” His dad answered, “Heck no, son. How else are you gonna learn?”
Well, dad was right. You don’t learn if you don’t ask questions. But that’s not all there is to it. You’ve got to be paying attention to what’s going on around you. You’ve got to be open to the possibility that you don’t know everything. Most of all, you’ve got to be willing to ask someone who actually knows more than you.
This is the second commitment of an apprentice of Jesus: To learn to do life from Jesus.
The path to freedom starts here.
An apprenticeship to Jesus starts with the decision that you will be an apprentice. But that decision turns practical when we commit to learn from Jesus. That’s the whole point of the apprenticeship, right? We commit to learning about Jesus and Jesus’ teaching as deeply and intimately as we can.
In John 8:31 Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus says if we are his disciples or apprentices, we will “continue in His word.” He says this will have a certain result in our life. We will “know the truth,” and more importantly, that truth will bring us freedom.
Do you want freedom in your life? Of course! Do you want to know truth? Most of us do. What’s Jesus plan for bringing these things to us? For us to “continue in His word.”
That word “continue” in the Greek means to dwell in, to live in, or to journey with. So this is not talking about a passing familiarity. This isn’t hearing a preacher quote Jesus, or reading a book about Jesus’ words that one time.
To continue in Jesus’ word simply means to have His word be an ongoing, ever-present, part of our lives.
It becomes something we live in.
Skip the bookcase. Go straight for the Book.
There are mountains of great spiritual content out there: Endless sermons and spiritual podcasts and videos. Piles of books by incredible and insightful authors. And of course, there’s the whole Bible. Here’s the practical truth. For all the riches of spiritual content we have available to us, most of us don’t use any of it. There’s too much to choose from.
If you are serious about being an apprentice to Jesus, here’s where you should start. Immerse yourself in the Gospels.
Disregard the mountain of great spiritual resources, and start simply. Live in the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
- Read them.
- Read them again.
- Read them in a different version.
- Read them out loud.
- Memorize the words of Jesus.
- Then read them again.
This is where you learn Jesus’ teaching. It’s where you can be immersed in His character.
This isn’t like other books where you read them once and put them back on the shelf. We make the gospels an ever-present part of our lives.
I’m not saying all that other stuff isn’t helpful (I still want you to show up here at my blog, right?).
I’m not telling you to ignore the rest of the Bible. If you have time and a desire to add other things in, great. Do that.
But whatever you do, don’t cut out the Gospels. They’re simple. They’re direct. And they are where we come to know Jesus best.
How should you go about this?
The average reader can read all 4 gospels straight through in about 5 hours. You can do that if you want, but here’s a better option. If you can only find time to read 15 minutes a day, and skipped weekends, you could read all 4 gospels through in less than a month. If you only read 3 days a week you’d finish in 7 weeks. This is not an overwhelming proposition.
Think for a moment what would happen in your life if you read the gospels through four times a year. Think about how much more clear you would be on the character of Jesus, how much closer His words would be to your heart.
How would things change if you did that same thing even more frequently? If you read the gospels for 15 minutes, 3 days a week, you could read them through 7 times in a year. If you really wanted to get aggressive, think about this. What would happen in your life if you read the gospels through every single month?
We can’t seriously consider ourselves apprentices of Jesus if we aren’t intimately familiar with His words. Jesus said himself that we should dwell in His words. This is where we start.
When we make a serious commitment to learn from Jesus, we are entering into an apprenticeship. We will learn the events of His life. We will also learn His words. But something bigger will happen. We will open up the door to hear His voice and experience him.
Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein recounts a letter in which Einstein was asked if he accepted the historical existence of Jesus. He replied, “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
Those are the words of an agnostic! Imagine what you will find, as a follower of Jesus!
5 thoughts on “Learn from Jesus. Live in the Gospels.”
Hey Marc loved the post. I Bible journal daily…well try to keep it up daily. I go through the Bible in a year. Where this connects is in the application. How can I apply the words of Jesus and the rest of the Bible to my life. I know that’s not to new but it keeps me engaged learning at His feet. The Word examines me not the other way around. Blessing in your journey.
“The word examines me, not the other way around.” I love that.
Great post. I agree, the Bible is where the meat is at. I have read through the Bible in 4 months before, which is great, but strenuous. My groove for the last while has been reading the New Testament through in about 40 days. Familiarity can be a lazy alternative to memorization, but that’s where I am. The Word is our bread, the Spirit is our wine; and thus we are fed.
I can so relate to your line, “Familiarity can be a lazy alternative to memorization.” I grew up in a church and family that did a lot of memorization, and as a young adult and adult, I stepped away from memorization. It felt obligatory and legalistic. But now, I’m getting back into it. No baggage. Just a desire to have these words become a part of me.
I am almost done reading and learning through the epistles, reading one entire book per day, 3-4 x per week since January 2017. It has been rich, but I think next I will go through the gospels as you suggest. There is something very powerful in reading and meditating on Jesus’ own words; It will take a life time to know Him thoroughly without preconceived ideas about Him and to get a sure idea about some of His “hard sayings”especially. I want to know Him so I will dig deep. Thanks for your advice.