Below is an updated post from 2012.
Recently, while reading Scripture, I came across a verse that stood out and struck me in such a way that I wanted to pass it on to you. I was reading from the book of Ezra, and I came across verse ten of chapter seven.
For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decree and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10
If anyone could have an excuse to walk away from God, it would have been Ezra. Ezra was a part of the Babylonian exile, and because of this experience he could have easily wondered where God was. For many, when bad things happen, turn to self-help books and so-called experts to figure out any given problem. But Ezra, devoted himself to three habits.
•Observance of Scripture
•Teaching of Scripture
The way in which we examine these three areas can affect our lives and how we experience Scripture. There are many verses in the Bible about each of these three areas, so the following is not an exhaustive list by any means.
•Study – Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
The Berean Jews were eagerly examining Scripture every day to make sure Paul was teaching the truth. Do you go home after each sermon or study and examine the Scriptures to make sure that what is being taught is true? Are you studying the Word daily?
•Observance – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25
Do we not only hear and study the Word of God, but do we apply it to our lives? This is key for us as we make decision after decision after decision.
•Teaching – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
The early church also devoted themselves to the teaching of the Word, not neglecting the importance of God’s written Word to us.
Ezra has given us an example and the proper view of Scripture. First, we are to be in the Word of God daily, studying so that we can apply it to our lives. Secondly, we need to apply that which we have studied. And lastly, we are to pass on what we have studied and applied so others may gain insight. I believe that the three areas talked about are also sequential; we are to study the Word in order to apply, so that we can teach.