I started thinking about the difference between studying a religion and practicing it when I got an email from someone writing a school paper on Hinduism.
First, he asked what the meaning of life is according to Hinduism. I put together an answer the best I could. Then I got an email asking if I had textural support for my statement.
That gave me pause. I realized that I couldn't name a textbook or a religious study or quote a professor or expert to support my understanding of Hinduism. And that is because I don't study it, I live it.
Of course, there is writing to support my view. I could say to read the Gita, and the ten principle Upanishads, but those scriptures are not easy to understand if you have no background or understanding of Hindu history, culture, and story.
I do read commentaries on scriptures and yet many times I don't pay much attention to whose commentary I am reading. I read each thing and look at how it interprets the text and then I ponder whether I agree with the message or not.
But mostly I don't do a lot of studying. Mostly I feel my way in religion.
On the other hand, Christianity is something I've studied. I took classes on it in college and I did Biblical analysis stuff. That was fun and educational, but extremely different from practicing and believing it.
Though I am an intellectual and I do pursue mostly a path of knowledge, it was interesting to me to realize that I do not approach my religion as though it is the subject of a PhD thesis.