‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.’ (vv42–44)
The early disciples were of one mind, or ‘together’ (v44). The word is found in Acts 1:14, again in Acts 4:32 and many other instances and it means ‘of one passion’. Together they shared a common interest in following Jesus. Yet, the Gospel stories reveal that, whilst the twelve disciples were together in following Jesus, they were of different temperaments. Sharing a passion will look different in every individual case. How we learn to follow Jesus will vary from one disciple to the next.
In any garden, plants require different soil and weather conditions to flourish. We’re similar! This is one reason why we find certain ways of learning more helpful than others. I’m primarily kinaesthetic, and so learn by doing. Sitting in classrooms frustrates me, as does teaching others. It’s one reason I lived in community for twenty-five years – learning Christian life alongside others. Whilst sharing common values we must ensure we find a style of learning that suits us, and today there are so many options: digital, roll-on-roll-off courses, distance learning with webinars, or the more traditional classroom approach.
The only essential is that I walk away better skilled in applying my knowledge to express my gifts in service of God. Increasingly the structured academic world of Higher Education is recognising that for many employers it’s not the letters after a name that count, but the ability to apply knowledge in practice. This is always the best measure of effective learning.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Luke 2:41–52; 1 Cor. 4:14–21; 1 Tim. 4:11–16; 2 Tim. 2:14–26.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: One book I value is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. If you are looking for knowledge of God rooted in knowledge of the self, read it.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to understand how I learn best and then seek to grow in my understanding by using this style. Amen.’