Jonathan Edwards is, in my opinion, clearly one of the greatest minds that America has every produced. Both theologically and philosophically speaking. I’m challenged by his life and writings. I just picked up a copy of Storm’s devotional on Colossians and found this gem in the introduction:
Be assiduous in reading the holy Scriptures. This is the fountain whence all knowledge in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected. Every man of common understanding who can read, may, if he please, become well acquainted with the Scriptures. And what an excellent attainment would this be!” – Jonathan Edwards, “The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth,” in Sermons and Discources 1739-1742, 101.
Regarding the above sermon that Edwards preached, Dr. Sam Storms writes,
“Most Christians would give assent to the title of Edwards’s message: “Yes, of course it’s important that we read and understand God’s Word. There is great advantage in the pursuit of a thorough knowledge of divine truth. We must be careful and unremitting in the attention we give to it.” But the fervency of that assertion, I regret to say, is rarely met with a proportionate devotion to actually doing it.” – Sam Storms, The Hope of Glory: 100 Meditations on Colossians, 11.
We often ascribe great confirmation to concepts that we know we are true but when it comes to actually applying them and “doing the stuff”, there is a disconnect. May the Lord help us to live this type of devotion in our lives!
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
The longer a person lives the more clearly it appears that there is truly nothing new under the sun. Edwards obviously dealt with the difference in peoples Bible knowledge verses their often unbiblical lifestyles. We can certainly see that same disconnect in our day as well.
Interestingly it was also a major issue for the early disciples and followers of Christ. James said for folks to be,”Doers of the Word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”. I always put an interpretive spin on it for my personal understanding. Something like…Be a doer of God’s word, not just one who hears it. Otherwise you are self deceived”.
The issues of life for we who follow Christ are the very much the same as they were for those who were His first followers. I actually find great comfort in the fact that His Word was written through folks that had the same struggles we have and who found answers that are just as readily available to us.
Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
That is only an eleven word sentence….but WOW…is it a mouthful!
Nice comment Jason! Luke, I liked the quote from Edwards but appecated the thoughs of Dr. Storms.
Does Jame also say something about how people who wrote the Bible or followed God in the past were sinners like us? I recall reading something like that.
Edwards was a stalwart of the Great Awakening and we would do well to learn from him.