3. A Reason to Study

DiscBefore embarking on this section, please watch the first part of the “The Why, Where, When and How?” video presentation.

Whoever ‘they’ may be, they say “the only place where success comes before work is in a dictionary.” That is certainly true of study. If we want to be a successful student we are going to need to invest a significant amount of time and effort into our studies. They also say “the more you put in, the more you’ll get out,” and I am inclined to agree with them; whoever they may be.


If these things are true, then we are going to need to stay motivated. I remember, many years ago, running in the 1500 metres at Crystal Palace. I was competing in my school’s house sports’ competition and had probably been absent when the events were allocated to house members. It was, I recall, rather gruelling and I’m sure that there was a plethora of alternative activities that summer’s afternoon that would have been far less disagreeable. I came in ninth. But I came in! Not all of the sixteen starters finished the course, but I kept going till the end. I have vague recollections of thinking that I might expire by the track-side just beyond the finishing line, and I suppose somebody might have noticed if I had, but for some reason I had kept going till the end.

I have questioned my motivation for running that day. I don’t recall it having much to do with not wanting to let the side down, though perhaps I had more esprit de corps than I now recall. Maybe I felt some masters would gain some strange satisfaction to see me falter before the finish – and I just couldn’t allow that! I really cannot remember, but I suspect it probably had more to do with personal pride – something of a family trait that rarely knows when to stop and might even struggle to do so if inclined.

A higher motive

In Christ, our motivation reaches new heights. It’s not about us – it’s about Him – and I strongly suspect that at least one reason you have engaged in this course of study is to better your walk with Him. That is a truly honourable motivation for doing anything, and one that is unchanging in its appeal. Without good and enduring motivation we will run into seemingly insurmountable difficulties in whatever worthwhile pursuits we are involved.

Remember, the forces of evil are unlikely to be happy with any decision you make for the cause of Christ. So do not be surprised when you are tempted to neglect what you have decided to do. Be prepared to face such challenges and persevere for the cause in which you believe. The writer of the book we call Hebrews reminds us of the “cloud of witnesses” by which we are surrounded, as if they are there to cheer us on as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Here the writer uses what William Barclay described as “one of the noblest of New Testament words.”1 The word ‘υπομονη / hupomonē speaks of a perseverance that resolutely keeps on, regardless of what might get in the way. “It is the quality which keeps a man on his feet with his face to the wind.”2

One of the advantages in pursuing a structured course of study is that there are those who are here to encourage you in your journey and cheer you on your way. Your Personal Mentor, if you have one, as well as the Module Tutor are available to help you steer yourself through your studies as well as to urge you onwards (and upwards). There are also fellow students with whom we hope you will interact and share together in your experience.

Motivation and a desire to succeed

Success so often has to do much more with desire than with ability. In The Psychology of Study, Cecil Mace devotes an entire chapter to the subject of motivation,3 describing at length the role of desire in spurring us on in our studies. “The strength of a desire,” he suggests, “is less a matter of its ‘intensity’ than it is a matter of its duration.”4 So we are thinking here of a deep-seated desire that is not likely to vanish at the first sight of an essay title.

Make a noteThis is why it is crucial for you to know why you want to pursue your studies. In the video presentations you were asked to think about your reasons for studying with the British Bible School. If you haven’t yet done so, this would be a good time to write down at least three reasons on a piece of card to keep as a reminder.

You might find it useful to consider the following ideas:

  • To help me focus more on spiritual things and less on the things of this world
  • To help equip me as a leader in the congregation
  • To help me understand God so that I can be more effective in sharing him with others
  • To help me be better prepared for teaching Bible classes
  • To help me consider whether I am suitable to undertake foreign mission opportunities
  • To help me be a better parent by building a more spiritual home
  • To help me draw closer and closer to God, day by day
  • To help me develop my personal faith in God and be less dependent upon that of others.

Make a noteMotivation and aims

You are also encouraged to think of specific aims you wish to achieve as you begin each module. These will largely depend upon where you are in your walk with Christ at this point in time. For example, you could have written:

1. To learn the correct spelling

… but you have already done that in Unit One – if you hadn’t already done so before. You can, of course, include this example if it was relevant. You might like to take a look at the Introduction to Module or Title pages for some more ideas of things you would like to achieve during this Module – and jot them down on a piece of card too. You can share these with your Mentor and / or Tutor if you like.

A divine incentive

Make a noteBefore moving on to the next section, read the following passages and consider their implications for motivating us in our study of God’s word. Think of what they have to say of his word, of its value and worth, and of what this might mean to us today.

Please do this in a separate Plain Text document or as a PDF so that it can be submitted for assessment.

Briefly comment on each passage in this regard:

  • Deuteronomy 6:5-9
  • Joshua 1:8-9
  • Psalm 1:1-3
  • Psalm 19:7-10
  • Psalm 119:97-112
  • John 5:39-40

Post itOnce you have completed this assignment, please submit your comments to your tutor.

Instructions for submitting assignments can be found in the Module Introduction.

< Assignment Instructions   A Place to Study > 


  1. Barclay, New Testament Words, 1964: 143
  2. ibid. 145
  3. Mace, The Psychology of Study, 1968: 102-122
  4. ibid., 108