Hunched over my Bible, I sat on the floor in the hallway of the physics building during my first year of university.
It may not have been the most effective place for quiet time with God, but it was sunny and, since class was in session, only the occasional student walked past.
I was struggling with the purpose of the first covenant that God made with the Israelites: why did he even bother with it, seeing as they abandoned him on a bi-weekly basis and he had the whole plan with Jesus in the works anyway…??
I don’t even remember what verses I was reading at the time, but a heartbeat later I was shocked into an understanding of God’s purposes that I hadn’t had before, and it was thrilling.
I don’t remember the exact verses, but I remember the powerful connection I had with God in the moment of understanding.
How to love God with all your mind
For some people, the pursuit of the knowledge of God is like a thrilling ride: you suddenly get to the top and you can see the landscape of God’s Word set out before you. This is what happened to me that day on the chilly linoleum floor.
For others, loving God with all their minds is like an engaging puzzle, where seeing a single piece fall into place satisfies the soul deeply.
I have a friend that is in this place right now, and I get excited every time I talk to her, because she is so excited about her research. She always has something new to share about what she’s learning about the deeper meanings of God’s word. She’s learning how to love God with all her mind by digging deeper into the cultural context of the Bible.
Sacred Pathways: The Intellectual
If this describes you, or if it describes the way you think you may be wired to connect with God, then you might have the “Intellectual” Sacred Pathway.
This comes from Gary Thomas’ groundbreaking book detailing 9 diverse ways to connect with God, called Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God.
This doesn’t necessarily look like an intellectual like the world would see them. Following the Intellectual Sacred Pathway doesn’t mean you sit in stuffy libraries with 80 textbooks around you, or that you have a doctorate in theology. Rather, an Intellectual is the type of person who connects most with God through deepening theology and Biblical understanding.
In the “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”, the Intellectual finds it easiest to love God with all their mind.
In his book, Gary Thomas gives some suggestions of ways to broaden your understanding of the Bible. You could dig into church history, Biblical cultures, apologetics or ethics, or even learn Greek and Hebrew!
But isn’t faith about getting head knowledge into your heart?
Maybe, but I think that’s a false dichotomy. Our head knowledge and heart-faith can coexist. And for the Intellectual, gaining head knowledge is often the best path toward growing in faith.
A friend of mine is eagerly learning about the Hebraic roots and cultural context of the Bible. I have seen her new understanding work its way from head knowledge deep into her heart as she becomes thrilled with God.
If you are an intellectual at heart (haha, I mean, in the head) and allow God to connect with you in the manner that he created you, I believe he will do the connecting between head and heart in his own time.
How can busy moms find time to study anything?
In his book, Thomas also suggests taking a year’s sabbatical to go to seminary or going to Israel. That’s probably as unrealistic for you as it is for me, but it’s a wonderful goal for an Intellectual!
As a mother (or any other busy human being), it can be really hard to find time for deep Biblical study. It can be even harder to find time and money to fly to Israel and stand in the places where Jesus stood and taught.
Thankfully, in the world of quick internet access, the world wide web can be incredibly useful to help you learn to love God with all your mind.
- STUDY: Try some of these daily Bible study tools that are a little out of the box.
- STUDY: Theologically and historically deep teaching Bible studies like those from Beth Moore can also be very exciting. If your church doesn’t run Bible studies, start your own, or study by yourself. Your local Christian bookstore should be able to bring in any Bible study you can find.
- WATCH: Check out Joe Amaral’s teaching videos on YouTube. You can even listen to them while doing dishes or folding laundry! (How’s that for multi-tasking?)
- WATCH: You can also understand Biblical historical context through Ray Vander Laan’s video series “That the World May Know”. (P.S. If you (or your church) has a subscription to rightnow MEDIA, you can access his Bible study videos for free!)
- LISTEN: Find a great teaching podcast on iTunes and let the pastor, theologian, or professor teach you about the Bible. I appreciate the podcast from my own church, and also tune into Andy Stanley on occasion.
- READ: check out some books by great theologians such as Dallas Willard, CS Lewis, or Frederick Buechner.
- READ: find books on physics, biology, sociology, psychology, and chemistry. God created all things good, and all truth is God’s truth. For the Intellectual, it’s just as possible to connect with God through an astrophysics textbook as through the Bible.
If you would like to know more about the Intellectual Sacred Pathway – it’s in-depth descriptions, warnings and benefits, please snag yourself a copy of Gary Thomas’ Sacred Pathways book! (Amazon link)
If you’d like to see how Sacred Pathways connects with children, I’ve created an assessment you can use to hep identify their sacred pathway(s). Download the Sacred Pathways PDF assessment here!
Related articles on connecting with God through Sacred Pathways:
- How to Love God With All Your Mind
- 3 Ways to Find God Through Tradition
- When Cleaning Becomes Worship
- Connecting with God Through Standing Up for Others
- Experiencing God Through the 5 Senses
- Experiencing God Through Exuberant Worship
- Connecting With God Through Nature