I love being a student. I love learning about theories and formulas that quantify the seemingly non-quantifiable. Additionally, I love reading with candlelight and nerding out about paradigm-shifting scientific studies.
However, for believers, the “student” title isn’t abolished after high school or college graduation. No, for this life, it is always a role we play, a reverent title we hold that is confirmed through Scripture.
The term “student” is not often found in the English Bible. Instead, we find Jesus described as the teacher and his followers as disciples.
In modern-day English, we think of “disciple” as specific to the Christian religion, to following Jesus Christ of Nazareth. However, the word “disciple” wasn’t so specific to Jesus during the time the Bible was written. It was frequently part of Jewish religious speech, but more relatable words to our modern lexicons might be learner, schoolboy, or scholar.
I really like the word “scholar” because it sounds like we are studying something of massive importance, having candle-lit study sessions, and learning a trade that should be held with unmatched reverence.
As scholars of Christ, our field of study is exactly that: eternally meaningful and worthy of utmost reverence.
How can we become scholars of grace?
So if we are to be “scholars of grace,” what exactly does the title mean? How is being a student of Jesus different than being a high school or college student?
For many, being a student has not been a thrilling experience. Conventional academics weren’t fun or satisfying. Instead, it was boring at best and shameful at worst.
For those who have had difficult, yawn-worthy, or embarrassing experiences in their schooling, the issue was likely not necessarily the learning process itself. Instead, the issue with academics can often be that the lessons taught seemed distant and irrelevant to daily life. The classroom focus is on grades and not application. The lessons can simply be too difficult and unmanageable. These experiences can leave one ready to throw the whole “student” title out as soon as possible.
Well, I bear good news, sweet students! There are a few basic ways being a scholar of grace is different than that of traditional academics. These distinctions should cause scholarship under God to be the most thrilling experience of all.
Firstly, we don’t have to earn any grades.
In God’s eyes, the only person who earns an “A” is Jesus. We are clothed in His righteousness, so we have no need to prove ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are not here to earn our way or graduate from grace; we’re simply here to learn and enjoy His good lessons. Scholarship of grace is about curiosity and right living, not simply taking tests and memorizing the right answers to questions. It’s about asking the questions and inviting God into our hearts and minds so that He can answer them for us, not raising our hands with the right answers.
This is the scholarship of grace: to sit at His feet, ask His knowledge and wisdom to soak into our hearts, and watch our lives change before our eyes as He moves in us. His wisdom and knowledge are the very things that have caused our beating hearts and the world to exist (Proverbs 3:19-20), so here must be where we find the beginning of life itself. Though right and wrong do exist, learning with God is much less about answering rightly or wrongly, and much more about learning to treasure His wisdom and knowledge above all else. We can rest in this title without having to strive to prove ourselves worthy. We can enjoy the process of watching the Word and prayer renew our minds.
Secondly, it’s applicable.
Everything we will learn through our study of the Word, prayer, and communion with God is applicable and matters in our daily lives, whether we realize it now or not (2 Timothy 3:16-17). No, we are not being graded, but by the application of wisdom and obedience to the Word, we will live more joyfully and peacefully than we could ever have imagined on our own. Even if there is no obvious application of a verse, simply inserting the truth of God’s character into our lives will change the way we live. Whether it’s methods to improve personal relationships, lessons on destructive sin patterns, how to treat our neighbors, or something as simple as respect for our bodies, the Bible has something to say about it. If we walk in obedience, we will harvest fruit.
Lastly, it has eternal value.
No good thing, meaning something that glorifies God, will be destroyed. Nothing we gather from the Word will become irrelevant (1 Peter 1:25, Matthew 6:19). These things, these lessons, these joys that we learn will follow us forever. What a thing to run after, what lessons to learn, what glorious things to behold.
All in all, as scholars of grace, we are here to learn how to live more glorifying, joyful lives, not to prove our status. Scholarship of grace is not a way of earning favor with God. It’s a way of walking with Him and fighting the enemy’s lies that tell us we had to earn being a student in the first place.
Scholarship of grace is sweeter, more engaging, and more eternal than we could imagine.
Who knew school could be so fun, right?
Author | Mary Madeline LaMastus
Mary Madeline, known as Mary-Mad, is a senior college student studying cognitive psychology. Mary-Mad is passionate about seeking an authentic, flesh-and-blood Jesus in a technological, screen-savvy age. She holds a strong conviction that every moment, no matter how mundane, is important and has the potential to be an adventure and life-altering. She is currently using this conviction in the process of writing her first book. You can read more from Mary-Mad on her blog, here. You can also find her on Instagram @earthtomm and on Twitter @merrymadmen.