The key distinctive of a study quiet time is the serious study of Scripture. If a half-hour is set aside for a quiet time, at least twenty minutes of it is Scripture study. An in-depth study of a passage using commentaries and a Bible dictionary is not unusual.

The study quiet time sinks our roots deep in Scripture. We lay up a rich store of spiritual truth that we can draw on throughout our lives. As we see how God works in the pages of Scripture, we learn to recognize his hand in our own lives. As we see how people responded to God, we are inspired—perhaps to seek God as David did, or to be more obedient than Saul was.

All that time in study leaves less time for prayer. Leisurely devotional worship gets crowded out. Prayer time is cramped: short, intense and task-oriented. It easily turns into a shopping list of things for God to do and problems for him to solve.

In a study quiet time, it is possible to learn all kinds of information about God but not encounter God. Our study of Scripture may become a purely mental experience. We tend to assume that because we are studying Scripture, we are in touch with God. Remember the issue for our quiet time: “Am I meeting with God?” — Stephen D. Eyre, Drawing close to God: The Essentials of a Dynamic Quiet Time: A Lifeguide Resource (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995).

This article excerpted from The Discipleship Course.

The Discipleship Course is available on Amazon, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

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