A Teacher's Heart
Father, please help me to understand what it means to be loyal to You in my relationships with other people.
Read Ezra 7:1–10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The Bible is the greatest of all books; to study it is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals” (Charles C. Ryrie, 1925–2016).
How should Bible teachers prepare to teach Scripture? In ancient Israel, the priest and the king were both given copies of Scripture for personal study (Deut. 17:18,19). Ezra, both priest and scribe, not only studied and taught the law, but he also copied, stored and preserved the scrolls. Whenever people had questions pertaining to what the law taught, they went to the priest to inquire.
Ezra illustrates an Old Testament pattern of instruction preparation. God sent Ezra on a mission to restore the Judean community in Jerusalem that had been in captivity for 70 years. Through the agency of the Persian king Artaxerxes, God commissioned his Bible teacher, Ezra, to help restructure the postexilic community by teaching them the Scriptures.
Ezra took great care in preparing and delivering God’s message. He first searched the Scriptures so that he understood the message. Then Ezra lived the message that he found in his careful study. He practiced it by applying it to his own life before delivering it to others. Finally, prepared through personal study and committed to the message by applying it to himself first, Ezra taught it to God’s people. It is as if Ezra intended to teach it all.
We see Ezra’s intentions fulfilled when the people call upon him to read Scripture publicly in Nehemiah 8, a passage describing the reestablished celebration of the Feast of Booths. Here Ezra fulfills his stated intentions from Ezra 7:10 as he reads the law publicly (Neh. 8:1–6), explains it carefully (Neh. 8:7–9) and instructs smaller groups of leaders who, in turn, teach others (Neh. 8: 13–15). Ezra determined to search God’s Word for answers, live it and teach it. This prepared him to read it, explain it to the people and instruct leaders in a smaller group. This timeless pattern of preparation and instruction is as dynamic and effective as it was thousands of years ago in the life and ministry of Ezra, the priest and scribe.
Consider that the way Ezra prepared to teach God’s Word is the way that pastors and teachers prepare to preach today. Pray for your pastor’s preparation.
Father, thank You for Your Word and its impact on my spiritual growth. Empower my pastor and other Christian leaders to study and teach Your Word under the direction of the Holy Spirit.