Ezra 7:10 (NIV): 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.
I was stationed in South Korea from 1994-1995 without my family. Being away from my “normal” allowed me to do things that I hadn’t done before. While I certainly remember much about my year there, perhaps the most important thing I started was to read through the entire Bible. I had trusted in Jesus for most of my life. I had attended church and Sunday School. I had graduated from seminary. I had pastored a church. Still, it was in a foreign land that I committed to read the Bible through cover to cover. I am now approaching my 20th time reading through the Bible. I learn new truths that apply to my life every time.
Ezra grew up on foreign soil. He was an exile. He was experiencing the consequences of his ancestors who did not trust or follow God. He was a priest, but because he was a priest did not mean that he would follow God.
At some point in his life Ezra decided to follow God. As a result, he embraced scripture in order to learn about God. He devoted himself to study. He devoted himself to applying scripture to his life. Because he had embraced personal study, he was able to share with others.
So many people who identify as following Jesus do not regularly read or study the Bible. Why is that?
Fundamentally, anytime Christians don’t embrace the Bible, I believe that there is an issue with how they are loving and trusting Jesus. Loving Jesus in response to Him first loving me is the start of a relationship. To continue my trust in Jesus I need to learn about Him. I need to become like Jesus. I can do that by reading what was written about Jesus in the Bible by those who knew Him. And because Jesus and His first followers learned from the Old Testament, I also can learn from reading and studying the entire Bible. As I love Jesus and become like Jesus, I naturally want to share Jesus with others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess my concern that so many people who claim to follow You are not reading Your word. I ask that Your followers would love and trust Jesus so deeply that they are drawn to read and study the Bible.