Curiosity, learning and the becoming of childlike faith
20 MINUTE READ
I was recently told the story of someone who tattooed a cat on their inner wrist. Why was it there? This inked-in image of a domestic pet on human skin was to be, for that person, a consistent reminder for curiosity.
You may be aware that we are all born with an instinct for curiosity but, as adulthood overtakes a child, curiosity diminishes.1 Do we, as adults, sometimes mourn the innocence of childhood? If so, is this a yearning to become curious again? In my Christian adulthood, I have often thought about the words of Jesus, “If you do not turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven.”2 Could it be that Jesus implies that faith needs to have the qualities of wonder, of curiosity, of openness to God’s grace? And that life is a gift which children are willing to explore.
If we word associate ‘curiosity,’ I suspect many would respond, ‘killed the cat.’ So, if the cat gets killed, why the tattoo I described? In this paper, I will undertake an enquiry into curiosity. We may discover warnings that identify risk; however, the impact of curiosity is more often exciting, like encounterwing Jesus. William Ward’s aphorism ‘curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning’ is another home truth to guide us. Indeed, curiosity is a ‘hot topic’ in science, education, and living today. I’d like to suggest that It is time for us, Christians, join in the play. As we do, I will first identify a number of definitions so that we go forward with a shared understanding.
Curiosity is a fundamental drive within humans, indeed all species alike. It is essential to problem solving. Some people exhibit strongly positive curiosity traits. Webster’s dictionary defines curiosity as “the urge to investigate, to seek after new knowledge, to gratify the mind with new information or objects of interest.3” Intellectual curiosity is otherwise described as epistemic curiosity and can be defined as the desire to know or learn something in the absence of extrinsic rewards.4 Social curiosity explores a desire to .understand the experience of others. We could describe affective curiosity, spiritual curiosity, and so on. Research has linked curiosity with the development of knowledge, logic, and psychological health.5 It seems curiosity could be the best orientation for learning and growing.
“When we are present to others and our environment, the sparks of curiosity start to emerge.”
Dyche and Epstein6 note that in the “domain of learning, inquisitiveness is a disciplined curiosity and leads to the development of such habits as reflection, critical thinking, and a persistent search for new understanding.’ Associated with curiosity is mindful attentiveness7 and wonder. When we are present to others and our environment, the sparks of curiosity start to emerge even in mundane contexts. Indeed, Albert Einstein noted that, distinct from animals, humans have a shared natural sense of wonder which he argued science only strengthens. A willingness to enquire with open mindedness rounds out the associations.8
Emily Campbell, from the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkley, has helpfully documented the broad benefit of curiosity for society as a whole. Her list reveals the following:
1. Curiosity helps us to survive (danger, etc).
2. Curious people are happier.
3. Curiosity boosts achievement.
4. Curiosity can expand our empathy for others.
5. Curiosity helps strengthens relationships.
6. Curiosity improves healthcare.
Getting out of our own headspace, helps us recognise these benefits.
So, where am I going with this?
A compelling invitation to become more curious is emerging. If defining curiosity makes it sound highbrow, how then can we all ‘join in the play?’ I want to suggest a short journey with philosophy, then look at the neurobiology of curiosity, then adult learning in the context of curiosity and, conversely, the implications for teaching. As we learn the play of curiosity and knowledge, I will re-engage with some biblical themes, especially Jesus’ call to become ‘as little children’.
A short philosophy of curiosity
What are the philosophical planks we stand on, which guide curiosity? Prior to the late 16th century, the average person accepted the world as a given. Thinking and learning were handled particularly through the lens of tradition and reinforced by dogmas of the church, both Catholic and Protestant in the West. The historical period described as the “enlightenment”, opened up this world with a new paradigm of rationalisation. Hand in hand with this freedom to think, the tools of science and the power of Newtonian physics were developed to explain the world more robustly. The curiosity of reflecting around an apple falling from its tree allowed new knowledge to change the world. The Newtonian paradigm offered seemingly unlimited possibilities but, over time, limits and weaknesses have appeared. A paradigm shift came again with Einstein and his theory of relativity.
Thomas Kuhn9 helpfully developed the concept of ‘paradigm shift’ to explain how curiosity can promote new frameworks for understanding the world. ‘Kuhn loss’ is the term chosen to describe the phenomena of loss of some helpful knowledge as paradigms become redundant. Another philosopher, Alastair McIntyre10 has helped us recognise that traditions are better understood as past paradigms, and curiosity may still find rich pickings as the logic of traditions when they are explored more thoroughly. There is always a danger in completely deconstructing the past. Currently, curiosity is expressed within a postmodern context, where even the juggernaut of the science project has been exposed for its limitations and assumptions. One of the leading philosophers of our time is the Frenchman, Jacques Derrida. Now, curiosity is entertained through the priority of questioning. We start with ‘why?’ and then move to ‘how?’ and ‘what?’ For Derrida, knowledge becomes vital in an open and playful (joyful) way. Through this way of being curious, we can experience ‘the innocence of becoming.’11
The neurobiology of curiosity
Einstein is reputed to have said, “I have no specific talent. I am only passionately curious.” Stephen Hawking is even more assertive. As one of the prominent scientists of our era, he simply affirms, “be curious.” Neurobiological research has sought to understand the neurobiology of curiosity.12
Perhaps unexpectedly to some, this research suggests that, rather than a stand-alone phenomenon, curiosity is a to and fro process linking established, implicit knowledge and states of curiosity. It is argued that metacognitive experiences accompanying an unsuccessful retrieval from episodic memory, initiate states of curiosity. This science suggests that curiosity may act as a bond to ensure that memory gaps identified through unsuccessful retrieval, adaptively guide future learning. At these ‘to and fro’ moments, we may say, ‘it’s on the tip of my tongue’ or ‘I feel that I know this.’ These are examples of the ‘hypothesis strategy’ which, when explored successfully, leads to a dopamine surge in the brain. Knowledge is retained better now because of an emotional release, a joyous moment of discovering our hunch is correct. Scientists have shown at this moment, our pupils maximally dilate. I have chosen this as the inspiration for the title of this paper. Both the state of curiosity and the emotional pleasure linked to new knowledge, strongly promote the retention of knowledge. The brain centres prominent in this process are the caudate nucleus and hippocampus. Hurston13 describes research as, formalised curiosity.
“Both the state of curiosity and the emotional pleasure linked to new knowledge, strongly promote the retention of knowledge.”
A story from the history of science is illustrative of this “pleasure”. The ancient Greek thinker, Archimedes, is well known for his bathtub moment of insight. It was in this context he recognised the principle of water displacement by a solid body. In childlike joy, he is reported as becoming so excited he ran naked in the street yelling “heurēka”. Eureka moments are immortalised from this story. Another word generated from this event is “heuristic”, or an idea that leads to further discovery.14
What the research demonstrates at a neurobiology and learning outcome level, is that novelty may not be the most powerful driver for learning. Rather, as Lowenstein15 has shown, curiosity is highest when the information gap is small enough to be judged as possible to be closed. As we move to discuss learning, it is worth noting that researchers have demonstrated that retaining oral information while reading a screen at the same time makes the retention of new knowledge almost impossible.16 Should we talk more and PowerPoint less, or vice versa?
I have previously alerted us to the ‘curiosity wick in the candle of learning.’ I want to outline three strands of this wick.
1. Teacher “virtues”.
2. The positive components of a curiosity learning experience.
3. The inhibitors of curiosity in learning.
There is a body of research to inform these concepts.
For a start, some of the issues are, ‘administrative’ such as:
1. Being a champion for a learning environment culture in your workplace, organisation, or church environment.
2. Defending or quarantining dedicated teaching time so that interruptions are minimised.
3. “Unconditional regard” by a teacher supports learning at any level or capacity.
4. If we learn best near our current knowledge boundary then getting to know the person we are teaching’s current level of knowledge is very important.
5. Adaptability is also an important characteristic of a curiosity orientated teacher. This doesn’t mean that there should be no planning, indeed pre-reading research can be a way of preparing for the next steps of learning in a strong and powerful way.
6. Always having a plan B is valuable as well. If there is an unavoidable disruption, finding a way to use that disruption as a learning context can redeem the time.
7. It is important for a curiosity orientated teacher to create a sense of safety in the learning environment so that there is a permission for openness, uncertainty, for collaboration, and the celebration of acquiring new knowledge.
8. A good teacher will build curiosity-based learning into their feedback processes.
A curiosity orientated teacher will model the joy of learning and, in doing that, model an effective integration at both emotion and intellectual enquiry. The curious teacher will be willing to be completely present to the learning environment and let go of external thoughts at this time. A curiosity orientated teacher will cultivate what Jody Halpern calls, “empathetic curiosity”.16 This includes being aware of the teacher’s own emotions and feelings, recognising any frustrations, remaining in touch with the learner’s emotional responses and nonverbal cues in their communication, and being willing to accept negative feedback about the teaching/learning experience at any one time. For teachers, accepting negative feedback as an insult is destructive to a learning relationship.
In this vein, a curiosity orientated teacher will model humility where knowledge is at play in the world of multifaceted and multiplatform knowledge. Intellectual humility and modesty are highly desirable characteristics.
The curiosity orientated teacher will also be appropriately and personally open and vulnerable, and will share around their own experiences of learning difficulty.
The positive components of a curiosity learning experience
A good teacher will seek to find the learner’s voice17 and allow the learner to reflect and inquire without pressure or insistence in the learning context. This could be described as ‘learner-centred teaching’. In this learner-centred context, good ‘why’ type questions18 can be generated that help a learner explore further than their current state of knowledge. Indeed, encouraging a learner to ‘guess with feedback’19 has been shown to promote learning very successfully. So information presented as a problem that needs to be solved is likely to be retained far more effectively than simply presenting a fact.
It seems that perception of prior knowledge, rather than an objective assessment of knowledge, helps to predict an adult learner’s confidence about learning stimulated through curiosity. When curiosity leads to new learning, the pleasure mechanism that I have described already, is a powerful factor in the retention of that learning longer term. Celebrating this success is also an additional powerful reinforcer.
Dyche and Epstein20 have noted that in the domain of learning, inquisitiveness is disciplined curiosity and can lead to such habits as reflection, critical thinking, and a persistent search for new understanding. This flourishes when:
i. Learners are given responsibility for their own learning.
ii. Learning promotes multiple perspectives to be engaged.21
iii. Mindful reflection on both the subject and the learning process is taking place.
Consequently, inquiry is encouraged over information sharing in these learning experiences.
The inhibitors of curiosity in learning
Dianne Hamilton22 in 2019 identified four prominent barriers to curiosity in learning:
1. Fear. There are different components of fear – the indecisiveness of inexperience, misunderstanding around learning styles and teaching styles, previous traumatic educational experiences and so forth.
2. Assumptions. Here, the author was thinking about what motivates the interest to learn or what are the false perceptions that teachers might generate in a teaching environment that contribute to a more negative approach to the learning/teaching interface. Some learners are very goal orientated, while a curiosity orientated teacher may want to remain more open and less closed down in a curricular sense.
3. The emergence of technology poses both benefits and challenges, however critical reasoning skills can be weakened if a default position is simply to Google or use other search engines, rather than thinking through information and making informed choices that lead to new knowledge acquisition. Some are more terrified of technology than the learning process itself.
4. The learning environment is important, such as if there is conflict in a workplace or learning environment, or if there are family pressures prior to the learning opportunity. This can be expanded to include the stressors on either the teacher or the student, such that there is a component of depression. When people are depressed, there is a very low chance of curiosity learning occurring.
Other negative conspirators include rushing over too much material, running late, anxiety/disgust about the learning context in a way that doesn’t allow the learner to be present, overconfidence, and passivity. All of us have cognitive biases, some of which are more prominent than others and can impact on a curiosity orientated learning context. For instance, if a cognitive bias was that boys don’t cry and males keep a stiff upper lip, then a lack of the affective components of curiosity orientated learning will translate into reduced learning.
At its best, curiosity orientated learning could be described as something like “inductive foraging”. Commenting about medical education, Dyche and Epstein23 summarise like this:
“Medical educators should balance the teaching of facts, techniques and protocols with approaches that help students cultivate and sustain curiosity and wonder in the context-rich, often ambiguous world of clinical medicine.”
Such a statement could be translated into many other contexts.
As I began to reflect on a scriptural understanding of curiosity in learning, I went to the Cruden’s Concordance24 and was surprised to find no entry at all under the word ‘curiosity’. That is not to say that curiosity doesn’t feature in much of the narrative storylines of Scripture. Moses was certainly curious when he saw a burning bush and as he turned aside, he was surprised to encounter the living God. Before him, Jacob must have had some seriously curious thoughts about who he was wrestling, all night long on the side of the Jabbok River. In the end, he was left with a lame leg and the thought that he may have wrestled with God himself. Prior to this, Abraham had to walk the path of faith with many uncertain questions in his mind. On one hand, he had the promise of being the father of a great nation, on the other, God instructed him to take his son Isaac up onto a mountain and sacrifice him as an act of obedience. His mind must have been swirling with questions and curiosity about where all of this was going until a ‘scape goat’ was identified by God at the penultimate moment of this ordeal.
We could think of God’s response to Job’s complaint at the end of his reflection on suffering and hear how God invited Job to return to curiosity and wonder, even in the face of injustice. Samuel was certainly encouraged in his role of picking the next king of Israel to maintain an openness and a curiosity about who God was going to choose until he came to the last of Jesse’s sons.
“The scriptures also share a sense that God is curious about our lives as human beings created in his image.”
The scriptures also share a sense that God is curious about our lives as human beings created in his image. Psalm 9:12 says “he keeps his eye on us and registers every whimper and moan”25. God rides the bumps and celebrates the joys of the human experience with his people. Jesus put it like this, “you are worth more than many sparrows”26.
A sense of wonder for creation is a component of curiosity. The two probes that are currently exploring Mars are called “Curiosity” and “Perseverance”. These are words that acknowledge the interplay of inquisitiveness and the sheer wonder of exploring new contexts and environments, even deep into the cosmos.
Biblical theologian, Craig Keener27 makes this very interesting observation about children sing-songing in a playful way across an open marketplace.28 He writes, “Jesus scandalously paints the Kingdom in terms of children’s play”.29 Most commentators try to make serious points about this mini parable. The near-Eastern world was a participatory community. Everyone dances at festivals but somehow when Jesus arrives, the festival of grace is ignored. Business as usual. Simply no curiosity to put down tasks and get on board.
The contrary scenario of a funeral song also fails to connect. This lack of childlike curiosity stands out even when cultural norms would suggest an engagement. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in Luke 11, he involves his pupils in childlike trust that is curious; “Father… bring in your Kingdom”. Adult caution may hold back, but Jesus takes everyone’s memory of childhood, a memory that a father doesn’t mess with his children and stretches it. “Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish?”30 There is no malevolent sting in the tail of childlike faith. Rather, can we begin to imagine where curiosity can take us when the “Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” As a gospel writer, Matthew wants us to hear these links.
The connection between childlike faith and weakness, vulnerability and the priority of trust is often highlighted as a contrast to a dogmatic, purity-based religion of “adult” scribes and pharisees. To consider childlike faith in terms of child’s play is a volume accelerator for curiosity. The scattered texts of the synoptic gospels make amazing connections. Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?31 Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me.32 The Kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.33 Whoever doesn’t welcome God’s Kingdom like a child will never enter it.34
The picture is rounded out when we hear Jesus reflect on his own childhood and says, “Happy rather are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice”.35 And then, the wonderfully curious connection in Luke 20:36 that we are God’s children since “we share in the resurrection of Jesus”.
A stubbornly literal approach to Biblical texts keeps a lid on curiosity. The child’s play of God’s kingdom, of resurrection faith, grows toward maturity.
Jay Griffiths writes about the riddle of the childscape in her 2013 book, “Kith”.36 “Children see the world as soul-porous” she writes. “To a child, everything is lit with intent, following its story path, coursing with will. Ascribing a liveliness to the world brings the child’s imagination alive; it refuses to allow either the world or the mind to be inert”.36 Griffiths’ picture of childhood is bursting with curiosity. She holds a deep concern that in many ways, our childscape has been increasingly restrained, cordoned off. She sees this starting with the ‘enclosure’ movement which commenced from the fifteenth century and peaked in the eighteenth. Not only were the “commons” fenced off as private properties, but in Griffiths’ analysis there is an association with childhood discipline. She concludes, “the nature of the land and the nature of the child were both to be controlled, fenced in. Enclosure, both literal and metaphoric, was enacted against land and childhood”.37 The poet John Clare captures a sense of what was lost in a line like this, “I found the poems in the fields, I only wrote them down”.38
Griffiths goes hard. “Many of today’s children may not even know how gravely they are interred indoors and may never fully understand their insidious enclosure”.39 In “Kith”, Griffiths is proposing a thesis which goes toward explaining both the malaise and alienation of many in younger generations. She is throwing up a construct which constrains human freedom and stunts the curiosity which triggers possibilities. She calls for us to refocus on delight, play and imagination. “Let’s pretend”, “I’ve got an idea”, “I remember”, “I know” and “did you know?”, swell with children’s intoxication at thought itself: “children are galvanized by curiosity”.40
For children, Griffiths’ study documents the wonder of curiosity as given in the imprint of the image of God within humanity. Sin erects barriers, darkens vision and dries out dreams. In the face of such tragedy, we wait to hear God’s story. We plod on, hoping the ‘strong man’ will defeat sin and death in our lifetime, that curiosity and the play of the spirit will repopulate our being. Children do need the safety of boundaries when danger, vulnerability, complexity and evil are in their paths. Faith reminds us, “God works all things together for good, for the ones who love God”.41
In this paper I have searched for eyes wide open moments as we have explored the wick of learning; curiosity. Definitions have been canvassed.
Philosophy, neurobiology and the science of teaching for curiosity orientated learning have been explored. A conversation about childlikeness and the play of the kingdom of God has been a unifying theme. Jay Griffiths’ exploration of the childscape has been another reference point. So, is it time to make a daringly curious suggestion? My suggestion is this. Curiosity is a key component of the proverb, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.42
Like the children in Jesus’ parable of the public square, the writer of Proverbs situates wisdom in the public square. Above the nosiness, wisdom cries out, “How long will you clueless people love your naivete, mockers hold their mocking dear, and fools hate knowledge”?44 Soon these words follow. “Call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding…45 then you will understand the fear of the Lord…46 wisdom will enter your mind and knowledge will fill you with delight”.47 Proverbs are then created for the writer, from this ‘eyes wide open’ context, and become for human experience what we call wisdom. This delight simply multiplies as we remain curious.
That Jesus is presented as a new Moses, a new wise teacher should not escape us here. His call to return to the perspective of childhood is grounded in his wisdom and his own intimate relationship with the father. This is the one who calls the father “Abba”, a playful intimacy that he teaches all disciples to share.
From a mountain top teaching session, Jesus spoke the words, “blessed are the poor in spirit”. John Driver makes this reflective point, “a posture of spiritual poverty is fundamental to all Christian spirituality”. He goes on, “spiritual poverty consists of freely assuming the spiritual condition of being a child in the family of the father”.48
I have attempted to make a case that both wisdom and the play of knowledge, a spirituality of being a child in the family of the father, are operating in the marketplaces of life. We have noted that when it comes to faith, as we orientate with the trustful longings of childhood, we are becoming the daughters and sons of God. The play of the kingdom of God is sustained by the many gifts of God, but especially the Spirit. And it is here that curiosity will lead us into the becoming of “all truth”.49
An inquiry into curiosity needs to be modest. If everything is covered, the incentive to follow the play of knowledge is drained. My final question is to return our focus to Jesus of Nazareth. His insistence, that to enter the Kingdom of God, we need to become as little children, remains. The invitation of Christian scriptures is to maintain a curiosity about the love of God expressed through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. All the extraordinary claims about Jesus call out our curiosity. If, as the apostle Paul notes “all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ”50, we have an incentive to follow curiosity to this “glory of God”.50 Curiosity that leads to what the gospel storytellers describes as “belief in Jesus”, also leads to our becoming God’s children.52
PS. Don’t forget the cat tattoo.
PPS. A question for you. Why did Jesus say, “blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called God’s children”?
Dr Paul Mercer Dr Paul Mercer has been a general practitioner, practice principal, GP Supervisor, RACGP examiner and Doctor’s Health Queensland telephone counsellor for over 30 years. Paul was also a clinical lecturer at the University of Queensland and a past editor of Luke’s Journal. He is a life member of RACGP. Currently, Paul is a member of the Advisory Group guiding a GPTQ research project. He helps promote the Theology on Tap event in Brisbane each month. Paul is also Chair of Health Serve Australia and member of the Brisbane Holy Scribblers writing group.
- McGarvey, R. 2019. In “Developing and testing inhibitors of curiosity in the workplace with the Curiosity Code Index (CCI).” Heliyon 1, no.5: 2. DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01185.
- Matthew 18:3 (Common English Bible 2010, unless stated otherwise).
- Webster’s Seventh International Dictionary. 1998. Springfield: Merriam Publishers.
- Wikipedia. 2021. “Intellectual Curiosity.” Last modified February 4, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_curiosity.
- Jirout, J.J. 2020. Supporting early scientific thinking through curiosity. Frontiers in Psychology, DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01717.
- Dyche, Lawrence and Ronald M. Epstein. 2011. “Curiosity and medical education.” Medical Education, 45 no.7: 664. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2011.03944.x.
- Dyche and Epstein, 664.
- Kashdan, Todd B. and Paul J. Silva. 2009. In Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, edited by Peter E Nathan, 367-375. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Kuhn, Thomas. 2000. In Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 330. Virginia: The Great Courses.
- McIntyre, Alastair. 2000. In Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 360. Virginia: The Great Courses.
- Derrida, Jacques. 2000. In Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 349. Virginia: The Great Courses.
- Brooks, Gregory, Yang, Haopei and Köhler, Stefan. 2020. “Feeling-of-knowing experiences breed curiosity.” Memory 29, no.2: 153-167. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2020.1867746.
- Hurston, Zora Neale. 1996. Dust Tracks on a Road, 143. New York: Harper Perennial.
- Cited by Middleton. “A New Heaven and a New Earth”. Baker Academic. Page 162 (footnote).
- Lowenstein, George. 1994. “The psychology of curiosity: A review and reinterpretation.” Psychological Bulletin 116, no. 1: 75-98. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.116.1.75.
- Jody Halpern. 2007 in White, Tom. “Increasing the human capacity for empathic curiosity.” Greater Good Magazine. Accessed 8th August, 2021. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/increasing_the_human_capacity_for_empathic_curiosity.
- Palmer, Parker. 2011. In Dyche, Lawrence and Ronald M. Epstein. 2011. “Curiosity and medical education.” Medical Education, 45 no. 7: 664. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2011.03944.x.
- Sinek, Simon. 2009. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Penguin Books.
- Brod, Garvin and Breitwieser, Jasmin. 2019. “Lighting the wick in the candle of learning: generating a prediction stimulates curiosity.” Science of Learning 4, no. 17: 1. DOI: 10.1038/s41539-019-0056-y.
- Dyche and Epstein, 664.
- Page, Scott. 2017. The Diversity Bonus: How great teams pay off in the knowledge economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Hamilton, Diane. 2019. “Developing and testing inhibitors of curiosity in the workplace with the Curiosity Code Index (CCI). Heliyon 1, no. 5: 1-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01185.
- Dyche and Epstein, 2011. Curiosity and medical education. Medical Education 45(7): 667.
- Cruden, Alexander. 1934. Cruden’s Complete Concordance: To the Old and New Testaments. London: The Religious Tract Society.
- Eugene Peterson. 2002. The Message Bible.
- Luke 12:7(b).
- Keener, Craig S. 1999. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 341. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing.
- Matt 11:16-19.
- Keener, Craig S. 1999. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 341. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing.
- Luke 11:11.
- Matthew 18:1.
- Matthew 18:5.
- Matthew 19:14.
- Mark 10:15.
- Luke 11:27-28.
- Griffiths, Jay. 2013. Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape, 84. London: Hamish Hamilton.
- Griffiths, Jay. 22-23.
- Clare, John. 2013. In: Griffiths, Jay. Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape, 24. London: Hamish Hamilton Griffiths, Jay. 2013. Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape, 248. London: Hamish Hamilton.
- Griffiths, Jay. 346.
- Griffiths, Jay. 248.
- Romans 8:28.
- Proverbs 1:7.
- Proverbs 1:20.
- Proverbs 1:22.
- Proverbs 2:3.
- Proverbs 2:5.
- Proverbs 2:10.
- Driver, John. 2015. Life Together in the Spirit: A Radical Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century, 11. New York: Plough Publishing House.
- John 14:13.
- Colossians 2:3.
- John 14:13.
- John 1:12.