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Friday, May 06, 2005
 
The psychology of learning from the Bible ::

Sean Boisen on Blogos has a post with this title "Scripture and the Psychology of Learning". Before I became, first a pastor, and then a Bible teacher, once upon a time I studied psychology, (and liked it so much I married a psychologist!) so this topic caught my eye. Sean lists some:
"roles for Biblical instruction:
  • We learn facts we didn't know before, and taught basic principles about spiritual life
  • We're directed to specific thoughts and deeds, and warned against sinful living.
  • We're given motivation and encouragement to do what's right
  • We see examples of how to (and how not to) live out godly principles, in the lives of the characters described there
  • We're invited to worship God through psalms and poems
Now, I don't have very coherent ideas (at least not here and now), but I would stress that not all learning is cognitive. Emotional and attitudinal learning is (if anything) more important. These are what change the way we act. Now, stories - when we read them as stories, and not as sources for cognitive learning - because they "engage" us - lead us into them and get us to identify with the characters - cause such learning of attitudes and emotions. Poems do this too, though in different ways. The Bible is 9/10ths story and poem - which perhaps tells us which kind of learning God most seeks in his creatures!


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