Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Difficulty Level (Beginner)
This article is not so much about toilets nor is it about some in-depth theological topic or insight. To be perfectly blunt, I am wanting to share with folks something that I have found profoundly helpful in my own study time.
A primary factor for the average believer who wishes to dig deeper into theology, apologetics, and the Bible, is time. There just doesn’t seem to be much of it given the busyness of life. I can tell you right now that time is something I struggle with as well. I am a full-time middle and high school teacher, a youth director, Christian apologist, and youtuber, now blogger. I am also married with 3 little kids who are excellent at making noise and creating chaos as I try to get a full sentence out in conversation with my wife.
Because I am also very passionate about theology and apologetics, I love to read but very often feel as though I don’t have enough time to engage the material in any depth. Sometimes I just throw up my hands in defeat thinking that “I guess the only time I’ll ever have is super early in the morning before the world wakes up, or very late at night when I feel completely exhausted from the day.” Don’t get me wrong, I have tried the early morning routine and the late-night theological study sessions, and with a little discipline those have been my most productive and fruitful times, but the reality is that finding time to really dive into the study of God’s Word or some theological or apologetics book is really difficult for people in my stage of life.
It wasn’t until recently I was reading a little book entitled “Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Study: 80 Expert Insights, Explained in a Single Minute” by Michael S. Heiser, that I came across the brief section entitled “Five Minutes is a Long Time.” With regards to the importance of making good use of every minute Heiser writes, Trust me, it didn’t happen overnight. What I know now is the cumulative result of thousands of incremental sessions of studying Scripture and hundreds of resources related to it. It had to be that way, since I worked full time through fifteen years of graduate school, and most of my time in college before that.”
This I found to be oddly inspiring as Michael Heiser is a legit Bible scholar, yet he too had to press on through the busyness of life to get where he is today, and he didn’t do it by necessarily having all the time in the world to plow through countless books and so forth. Heiser recalled something a professor of his had said that he found to really help put things in perspective. Heiser writes, “One of the most helpful things I’ve ever heard was something a professor told us during freshmen orientation at college. One of our orientation sessions was about time management. The professor looked out over the auditorium and then changed my life when he said five minutes is a long time. If you’ve ever had to wait five minutes for something (a favorite show, an appointment. The bathroom!) you know it’s true.”
I don’t want to get into any gross details, but this point helped me remember some of the most profound things I learned in my studies while in the bathroom. Not that I intentionally studied in the bathroom, I had an office at the time, but there had been times while using the rest room for a few minutes that I would scroll through my kindle books on my phone or would be holding a book I was currently reading and was able to grasp and remember some deep theological or apologetic point.
Now of course, the bulk of my studies occurred in my office, or in some place where I had blocked out a time slot to really engage in what I was doing, but the profound point here is that it is quite an amazing thing to reflect upon how the mind can learn and retain things in such a short time span. It was thinking of this point that the scripture came to mind which says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15, 16). The KJV uses the phrase “Redeeming the time.”
No matter how busy we are, I strongly believe everyone has at least five minutes here and there to read a short paragraph or two and reflect upon it. Be intentional about what you do with the free minutes that you catch throughout the day. Heck, I was able to plow through most of William Lane Craig’s “Reasonable Faith” while on bathroom duty working as a Substitute Teacher. I still laugh while looking back at the notes I took while holding down the fort and asking students for their hall passes.
It can be done! Whether you are sitting on the can, or waiting on line at the super market, every minute counts. Redeem the time!