A Heart for God

Ezra 7:10 (ESV)
"For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel."

In one simple verse, Ezra provides direction for us in our daily walk with God.

In the first part of verse 10, Ezra recognizes the importance of preparation in order to fulfill the second part of the verse. Ezra saw the value in studying God’s Word—and he did so in light of a desired goal from this learning, namely to teach others.

Scripture is full of admonition about studying God’s Word. Not just reading our Bibles, but studying them. Dwight Moody once stated, “Merely reading the Bible is no use at all without we study it thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth”. The following verses lend credence to the need to study your Bible: Deuteronomy 11:18-23; Joshua 1:8; Isaiah 55:11; Psalm 119:11; 15-16; Proverbs 3:1-2; John 5:39-40; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15; 22; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 3:15.

So what’s the difference between reading and studying?

Consider reading as passive and studying as active. We should read to understand, and if the quest to understand takes us to different verses, concordances, or commentaries, then pursue such a path diligently. When you study the OT, look for Christ-He’s there. Choose a theme or a topic, such as encouragement, repentance or sexual immorality, and study the various verses that are relative to that topic.

God’s Word is our roadmap to this temporal life and the eternal life waiting for us. When we study with a purpose, we are bringing honor to Him who chose to reveal Himself to us through His Word.

Ezra set his heart to study. He did so because it was important to him. If ever there was a perfect example of Matthew 6:21, this is it. Bible study requires a calculated and intentional act on your part. To do so reflects how important God is in your life…or isn’t.

But what about the second part, teaching?

You might be thinking, “I’m not a Sunday school teacher, so this does not apply to me”. Unfortunately, you would be in error. We are ALL commanded to teach new believers about Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:2). But this cannot be accomplished if we have no knowledge to teach from. We must prepare ourselves to be a resource for the generation that follows (Proverbs 22:6).

And it need not stop with new believers. Discuss God’s Word with fellow believers. They may offer insight that you had not considered (Proverbs 27:17). I am grateful for having some incredible wise and faithful servants of Christ in my life that I can talk Scripture with. These men have been a pure blessing in my life.

I pray that if you are not in regular study, you begin today. Seek out those who can mentor you, or seek others to mentor. We have an obligation to our Lord to use the time He has given us to not only grow in wisdom and knowledge of His Word, but to teach others the Truth.