Dallas Willard, in “Spirit of the Disciplines”, states that “In the spiritual discipline of study, we engage ourselves, above all, with the written and spoken Word of God… In study we also strive to see the Word of God at work in the lives of others, in the church, in history and in nature. We not only read and hear and inquire, but we meditate on what comes before us.”
Ezra clearly lived this out as he was known as a great student of scripture and subsequently as a great teacher of scripture. Ezra 7:10 says of him: “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”
That word devotion is striking. Devotion indicates a steadfast loyalty to something. Of course, God is worthy of our devotion, and it’s through his word that we learn of him. Ezra’s devotion to the scripture calls to mind what it says in Psalm 119:5: “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!”
How is it with you in your devotion to the scriptures? Are you spending regular time studying who God is and who you are in that light? These are questions for you to examine as we engage in this practice. Take some time to consider the answers and what it reveals about your love for the Lord.
For us today the discipline of studying scripture requires that we regularly (daily) spend time reading scripture. There are many plans available to help you regularly read scripture, but the important thing is to simply pick one and read scripture every day. Beyond reading, though, we should study. We should read it in different translations and read commentaries on it. We should sit under gifted teachers of scripture and listen carefully. And we should take time to memorize scripture.
This week’s assignment, then, is fairly straightforward: Take some time each day to read God’s word to you. And then, share what you’ve learned with someone.
– Jon Heeringa