The Expository Files


Learning Under Pressure

Some things we learn under pressure.

When I first started using a computer, I was under pressure to learn how to use it. Previous to the purchase I had no training. I just had to put in the time to learn how to use it. Mostly through trial and error I submitting myself to a crash course in how to use the computer (and I'm still learning). That's learning under pressure.

Involved in gospel preaching for about 37 years, on many occasions I've been asked a question about the Bible for which I had no answer. Sometimes in Bible classes or home studies, questions come up and I am compelled to say, "I don't know." Or, as a preacher I may be challenged by someone regarding what I believe and teach; that challenge may send me into hours of study and research. I am learning under pressure.

I must admit, I've learned many things under pressure. Things I needed to know. Yet I'm not convinced this is the best learning circumstance. First, when you are under the pressure of the moment, you may be in a hurry to find an answer. You may be tempted to not take the time that good study requires. Crucial mistakes can be made in hasty study. Second, especially when you are directly challenged, you assume a defensive mode and may be more concerned about defending yourself (or group) that discovering the truth. Of course, there will always be occasions of pressure when we must study our way through to respond or answer. We cannot somehow do away with learning under pressure.

What is better is, to be so involved in increasing your Bible knowledge (on an ongoing basis), you will have answers well in mind before the questions arise. There isn't, let us grant, some course of Bible reading and study that will perfectly quip us to perfectly respond to all questions in the future. From the time of our baptism until our death, we will be learning.

If our knowledge is acquired mostly through the challenges and pressures which are unanticipated, our knowledge will probably suffer from an absence of balance; a dangerous limitation. The ideal I want to recommend is, to read and study the Bible daily, to gradually acquire a well-rounded knowledge of Scripture. The better our devotion to this ideal, the better prepared we will be for life and the challenges and questions people may submit to us. Learning under pressure should be secondary to our ongoing, personal involvement in learning the truth of God's Word. I need to learn to yield to the Lord, resist the devil and respect the truth before the temptations and questions arrive in my life.

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding," (Col. 1:9).


By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 13.9;  September 2006