Edwards’ Resolution #28

Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 in Resolutions

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Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

As I read this resolution, the testimony of Ezra came to mind.

Ezr_7:10 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.

These words show how Ezra “resolved” to study God’s Word for two purposes: (1) to obey it and (2) to teach it. The order is important for all followers of Christ – but especially for those whom God has set apart to shepherd the flock of God. Obedience to the Word of God must precede teaching others the Word of God. Pastors are to be living epistles. But no believer should have the motto: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Jesus had a word for such: “You hypocrites!” This does not mean we will not sin. But it does mean that the desire of the heart is to joyfully obey God in all things – and when we fall, we confess our sin, we live in His forgiveness, and we press on.

One of the things that Edwards’ is most remembered is his commitment to study “steadily, constantly, and frequently.” He was known to study for more than 13 hours each day. In fact, this flowed from a requirement of him in his first pastorate where he served alongside his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who was the head pastor. This practice continued as he took over the pulpit on his grandfather’s death. He was given to knowledge of Scripture first for his own growth. Then, and only then, could he faithfully proclaim those things.

The result in Edwards’ ministry was much like that of Ezra. We have the further testimony of Ezra, the result of his commitment above:

Neh_8:13 On the second day the heads of fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law.

His second purpose was fulfilled as the leaders came to him to receive instruction from the Word. I would suggest that they were drawn to him not only because he knew God’s Law, but that he kept it. They knew he loved their God because he obeyed their God. How did Jesus put it? “I know you love Me if you keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15,21; 15:10)

The Apostle Paul reflected this truth as well in instructing young Timothy:

2Ti_2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [KJV]

We study in order to rightly handle the Word – in knowledge and in practice . We study in order to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15, which note is also attached to spiritual growth). We study to keep us from being ashamed. We study in order to be faithful teachers, parents, and leaders – not hypocrites.

So – go and study!

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