What is the purpose of learning?

It is a wondrous thing to be able to apply ourselves to study – to learning….to stretch the borders of our brains and increase the ability to grasp new understandings, for the purpose of applying what is learnt. What good is it to learn something and then stick it on the shelf? Perhaps for a trophy…as a show piece…to say we achieved this or that, to have endured the pain of learning…? Perhaps even to be able to say we attended a certain college or university of prestige and at great expense. A status symbol of our intellectual prowess, gain a qualification to place on our resume or letters at the end of our name, a ‘right of passage’ into a club, ilumni, group or elite organisation…for the ”learned”. Applying oneself to learning is a worthy assignment…whether it be in a formal setting or otherwise.

As worthy as learning is, of itself, will never suffice alone, for a worthy life.

What is the value and worth of learning then?

Some years ago one of my bible college lecturers told me: “You are too devotional”. I really didn’t know what she meant, but I was keen to do better at my studies…and asked the Lord to help me ‘get it’…and to submit my next essay with more of what was required; more concrete ‘theology’ and less ‘devotion’. It felt very strange looking at the ”text” (Bible) that way…but of course, it can be done. I did get a better mark or at least a good comment for applying myself to the task. 24 years later both have stood the test of time…applying oneself to the text and to the application of it. Though I continue to discover, no matter how much of the Bible I know, my devotional life with God Himself has made His Word come alive to me in a way that no studying of the text ever did…and the ability to apply it – to really live it.

I asked God, just before entering college, “Please Lord, no matter how much or little I learn, help me apply it…even if I only get one bit…that I would live that!” I was a baby Christian of just 18 months…it was a baptism of another ‘world’….that is a story for another time….

For me, the value of learning is that I can apply it, no matter how small the fragment is, in a practical way in my life.

For example: “Love one another.”

That’s applicable in any context, any time, with anyone. I’m still learning and applying that one!