God is pushing me to work harder at teaching, and even more at learning in Christ’s name

We regularly need spiritual-pick-me-ups. Jonathan Edwards is a reliable friend in this regard. I’ve been reading “Christian Knowledge: or, the Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.” God has used it to stoke a fire in me to keep growing in learning Jesus and pursuing him passionately. In this section on “Why all Christians should make a business of endeavouring to grow in the knowledge of divinity” he powerfully calls us to growth and even reminds the pastor-theologian and church teacher what their duty is.

Jonathan Edwards writes,

7. The calling and work of every Christian is to live to God. This is said to be his high calling, Phil. 3:14. This is the business, and, if I may so speak, the trade of a Christian, his main work, and indeed should be his only work. No business should be done by a Christian, but as it is some way or other a part of this. Therefore certainly the Christian should endeavour to be well acquainted with those things which belong to this work, that he may fulfil it, and be thoroughly furnished to it.

It becomes one who is called to be a soldier, to excel in the art of war. It becomes a mariner, to excel in the art of navigation. It becomes a physician, to excel in the knowledge of those things which pertain to the art of physic. So it becomes all such as profess to be Christians, and to devote themselves to the practice of Christianity, to endeavour to excel in the knowledge of divinity.

8. It may be argued hence, that God hath appointed an order of men for this end, to assist persons in gaining knowledge in these things. He hath appointed them to be teachers, 1 Cor. 12:28. and God hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers: Eph. 4:11, 12. “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” If God hath set them to be teachers, making that their business, then he hath made it their business to impart knowledge. But what kind of knowledge? not the knowledge of philosophy, or of human laws, or of mechanical arts, but of divinity.

If God have made it the business of some to be teachers, it will follow, that he hath made it the business of others to be learners; for teachers and learners are correlates, one of which was never intended to be without the other. God hath never made it the duty of some to take pains to teach those who are not obliged to take pains to learn. He hath not commanded ministers to spend themselves, in order to impart knowledge to those who are not obliged to apply themselves to receive it.

The name by which Christians are commonly called in the New Testament is disciples, the signification of which word is scholars or learners. All Christians are put into the school of Christ, where their business is to learn, or receive knowledge from Christ, their common master and teacher, and from those inferior teachers appointed by him to instruct in his name.[1]

I am called to live to God. That’s my greatest privilege, calling, and responsibility. I want to learn as much as I can to do this well.

As pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, I want to assist members in gaining knowledge of divinity. I am called to impart knowledge, experiential knowledge of the Triune God. I am an inferior teacher (infinitely inferior to Christ) appointed by him to instruct in his name.

God is pushing me to work harder at teaching, and even more at learning in Christ’s name.

[1]Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2 (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 160–161. Underlining mine, italics his.

PJ Tibayan

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