How does creating Christian Mandalas help you reflect on Scripture?
The short answer is that Christian Mandalas utilize the same techniques used by a truly excellent teacher – Jesus.
The approach uses four vital learning modes to help you deeply absorb Scripture.
Vision: The approach uses our sense of vision. Half of what your brain does while you’re awake is process vision. By rendering the Bible passages you read into simple pictures or diagrams, your ability to remember it increases by a factor of six. From the book Brain Rules, “If information is presented orally, people remember about 10 percent, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 65 percent if you add a picture.” (page 234)
Did Jesus use vision when he taught? Yes, a lot! He wrote on the ground when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Him. He told the disciple Thomas to look at his wounds. He had a child put in front of the disciples as an illustration. Jesus washed his disciple’s feet as an object lesson. Jesus used a coin to illustrate his discussion on paying taxes to Caesar. These are just a few examples of how Jesus used vision to teach.
Repetition: We repeat to remember. The Christian Mandala study books use a four-fold repetition. You study the same passage of Scripture three times throughout the week. With each reading, the text is processed differently. If you are in a small group, the group comes together, and each individual shares their insights. This sharing is the fourth repetition. These repetitions give a deeper perspective on a given text, and the discussion helps group members retain the information from both their studies and others.
Did Jesus use repetition? Yep, look at Matthew 16:21, Matthew 17:22-23, and Matthew 20:17-19. Chapter after chapter, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to die and that he would be resurrected.
Creativity: We are made in the image of God. God creates. We create. By using our creativity as we interact with Scripture, we become more invested in the verses and gain new insights into God’s Word.
Did Jesus create? Yes, he gave us parables, object lessons, memorable sayings, and more.
Curiosity: The Christian Mandala study method awakens curiosity through the use of Art and Bible commentaries. You’re encouraged to ask why, to seek, and to find. Inquisitiveness is one of the most potent learning mechanisms available to us.
In Matthew 7:28, it states: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching…”
Jesus awoke curiosity in his learners by telling stories, parables. Jesus used hyperbole, as well. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Additionally, Jesus asked provocative questions to stimulate interest in those he taught.
The mandala shown, Psalm 1, captures the thought of Psalm 1:2-3. The Message renders the text as follows.
Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.