The apostle Paul mentored a young man named Timothy. While Paul has a lot of advice for his friend, one piece stands out: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, ESV). Some versions translate this as “study to show yourself approved.” In his career as a pastor, missionary, and church planter, Timothy needed to devote time to learn so he could properly present the truth.

If you find study, learning, and school more boring than invigorating, it may merely indicate you haven’t found a subject that interests you. Or it may mean you haven’t been able to connect the practice of studying with how you live. To approach life without learning how life works—through history, communication, theology, biology, etc. —is a sure-fire way to end up in trouble.

Jesus calls us to follow Him with our whole selves—heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27)—which means we need to exercise our brains as much as our bodies. So, how do you study? What subjects and themes do you like thinking and talking about? Take some time to make a study plan. It may involve reading, listening to a podcast, watching a documentary, or even having a conversation with an expert in a particular field.

Study takes work and time. There are no shortcuts. But in a world where material possessions break, wear out, and can even be taken away, your knowledge and wisdom outlasts everything and will follow you into eternity.