I'm listening to a series of sermons by Andy Stanley about his theory concerning the five general ways in which God will increase our faith -- five categories of factors which are used by God to, as Andy puts it, "blow up" our faith.
He says they are:
- Bible study
- providential relationships
- private disciplines
- personal service
- special circumstances
Bible study -- it does seem logical that our faith will increase through regular, in depth Bible study.
First of all, I don't think my faith has climbed at a steady rate throughout my life. It has undergone jumps and plateaus. I wonder if other people are like that.
One of the jumps in my faith happened right after I finished graduate school. I liked school -- I did not like homework, at all, but I like learning. Once graduate school was finished, I was looking for something that allowed me to continue that experience of learning, so I signed up for a Bethel Bible study teacher's class. It was two years of classes, once a week, for 2 1/2 hours per night.
It was in depth. It was the first time that I really read the Bible and talked about it with other believers, with any kind of time commitment. It did alter my faith. It also launched me into service, using what I would now call a gift of teaching in service to God.
I still, even now, and hopefully always, have those "ah hah" moments in Bible study -- those times when you read a passage and see it as you never had before. There are those times when Bible study can lead you closer to God. Strengthen your faith.