Ty’Ann Brown writing in Guideposts magazine, made an excellent point about old age and learning. She writes, “Getting older does not automatically mean we are getting wiser. We have to work at it.” I can’t tell you how often I have heard someone with gray hair say, “I never heard that before,” in response to a concept I presented in a class or lecture. They sometimes make the statement with the idea that since they have never heard it before, it could not be accurate. It’s essential that we keep an open mind and never stop learning.
I share Ms. Brown’s view that learning never stops, and God does not want us to stop being students. When you read the life of Jesus Christ, you see that we should never stop learning. At age 12, Jesus sat in the temple, and the scholars were amazed as He was both asking and answering questions (Luke 2:46-47). In Matthew 8:5-10, Jesus came in contact with a centurion, and verse 10 tells us that “Jesus marveled” at his faith. The apostles were adults when Christ called them, but they learned from Him. Paul was a fully educated teacher when the Lord appeared to him, but he still had much to learn.
When Paul spoke with the Epicureans and Stoics in Acts 17:16-34, he was learning about their religious traditions. In Acts 15, we see the entire Church learning and growing in their understanding. The world was changing, and they had to learn how to evangelize a world in flux. We live in a changing world, but we still face the issues of feminism, racism, prejudice, and nationalism that Jesus dealt with in John 4. Luke 8:26-40 shows Christ dealing with mental and spiritual issues that Satan was using to keep people under his control.
We can no longer be satisfied with traditional answers as we face today’s new challenges. Never stop learning. Learn how to use a concordance and Bible dictionary for a careful word study of the scriptures. Realize that some more recent translations of the original language may offer valuable insights that we don’t get from our old familiar translations. (I am talking about Bible translations, not paraphrases.) Second Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Study to show yourself approved by God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” That message is not just for the young preacher Timothy but for all of us as well.
— John N. Clayton © 2022
Reference: “Back to School” by Ty’Ann Brown in Guideposts magazine, August 2022.