How would you define learning? Is it the collection of knowledge? Is it performance in an evaluative situation such as a test? Is it only demonstrated through everyday situations?
In Jesus’ day, many could not read and the written word was found on large awkward scrolls that would have been time consuming to produce and costly to buy. So, the American way of stacking up a bunch of books and trudging through them would have been unlikely. Instead, a student, or apprentice, would spend time with a teacher, or rabbi. The student would sit at his feet and learn from him and would watch him work and live. Learning came through observation, discussion, and apprenticeship opportunities.
The three things that I know the most about are basketball, music, and sports. I learned basketball from playing almost daily throughout my high school career and from practicing on my own. I read some about playing and I watched a few instructional tapes but my learning came from experience and practice. I learned about music from immersing myself in albums, songs, and liner notes. I read some music books and biographies but mostly I just listened to music all the time and became familiar with the people who made the music through listening to their work. It is much the same with sports, I lived with sports which is much different from watching and reading about sports. Sports was a part of my life more than a subject to be studied.
What does this have to do with being a follower of Jesus? If we want to grow in our relationship with Jesus we will have to move beyond our notion of learning by means of a snatch and grab philosophy and move to a more organic, flowing process. Jesus’ teachings need to be lived with; his ways of life need to be practiced and experienced; and his character needs to be modeled and discussed with those around us. If you want to learn from Jesus how to live the Christian life, then prepare for a lifelong process not a three week session. The Christian life is a learning life void of crash courses and short cuts.