One of my life verses provided a portion of the title for this blog. Ezra 7:10 reminds us that “Ezra had devoted himself to the STUDY and OBSERVANCE of the LAW of the LORD, and to TEACHING its decrees and laws in Israel.” I am finding that when I keep that order, that Biblically-directed order, God’s blessing follows. I must study and using all the tools entrusted to me by God pour over the text of God’s word. What God teaches must be put into practice. That’s the test of comprehension – Even in the Great Commission, knowledge is insufficient. Disciples must be taught to obey, not simply be able to win Bible trivia games. The truths I have studied, and by God’s grace sought to integrate into my daily conduct, become those truths God blesses when I teach. Change this order and something’s wrong, seriously impaired.
In Mark 4:33-34 Mark summarizes the active teaching ministry of Jesus Christ to his disciples–particularly those he had chosen to be with him and who were being sent out to preach. (Mark 3:14).
“With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.”
What an educational opportunity! Jesus Christ speaks truth directly to you, and fashions his instruction according to your understanding. As you later ponder what he taught, he provides further detailed explanation of outstanding topics raised through these sessions.
I’ve spent a good portion of my life seeking to understand God’s truth. I’ve had a multiple of learning opportunities, both formal and informal. I’ve been provided with teaching opportunities as God has opened and is opening some amazing doors to pass on some of what he’s taught me. If I’m to continue on in this life-calling, I need what the disciples were given.
I need to hear the word of God through my own ears in order for real change to occur. I love books and sermons and lectures and discussion groups and blogs , etcetera, that wrestle with the text of Scripture but I long to read and interact with the text myself in the silence of study, memorization and meditation.
Reading through Mark 4:33-34, I’ve been wondering what limits my understanding. What is keeping me from “growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?” (2 Peter 3:18). How well prepared am I to learn? How much time do I prayerfully prepare and how carefully do I read God’s word? What further explanation does Christ offer me as a 21st century follower? What outstanding topics is He more than willing to expand as I press Him for further observation, interpretation and application?
The key focus of my study is Jesus Christ. I recall one of my first Christian Education meetings years ago when the congregation I was serving was about to launch into a “Through The Bible” journey. One of our pastors reminded us that the core content of the Bible could be summarized in just two words – “JESUS CHRIST.” Read John 5:39-40 to find out why he answered that question in such a way.
I conclude with a quote from a hymn that has stirred the hearts of believers for many years, namely More About Jesus.
“Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me….
More, more, about Jesus;
More, more about Jesus, More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.”
May we, like young Samuel (1 Samuel 3) declare, as we open our Bibles, “Speak Lord, For Your Servant Is Listening.”