There is a cycle through which we all progress when we are learning something new, or changing the way we view life. I have seen it take place in individual’s lives at varying rates over the 40 years of engagement with equipping people to study the Bible for themselves. There seems to be a pattern emerging. I am still working through the details and the wording so if you have some thoughts or corrections to this please feel free to chime in.
Looking at the diagram, we seem to navigate five phases as we learn. The first is Exposure. We are exposed to a new idea or skill. Since we do not like change, the next phase is Struggle. We struggle with the new concept or skill as we evaluate whether we think that it will be of benefit for us.
We then move to the Utility phase. We may be using the new learning or skill but it is somewhat mechanical. It is still not a part of our thinking or behavior but we are engaging in using it on a regular or semi regular basis.
The next stage is (the first person I shared this with did not like this word... So I am open to suggestion here) Transparent. What I mean by that is that we get to the point that we use the new learning or skill without thinking about it.
The last stage is Heart. That is where we are using the skill or information consitanly in a way that changes the way we live.
All of this is focused on learning to engage in the Bible personally. I have seen these phases play out in many people's lives over the years. One other truth here is that I have seen people bail out of the process at each stage before they reach Heart. That is unfortunate. I have seen people abandon the process in the first two phases because the new truth or skill is hard. In our churches today many of us are used to people doing the work for us. We are consumers rather than those who do the work ourselves. To change and take responsibility for our own time in the Word is a difficult switch to make.
It is worth the effort.