Paul here was described as being devoted to the word, if that also becomes your defining trait, you will be fine. He not only knew the word but was passionate about bringing others into the realisation of the truth he had come to, expressing heartfelt passion for the word.
Everyone is defined by his passion of lack of it. Jesus wrote to church in Asia, be zealous and do the first works (Revelation 3:19, 2:4-5). Zeal, devotion is always backed up with action. Devotion is about obedience. It is about extremes of passion. You are always in bondage to your passion, you cannot help yourself. After Paul‘s encounter with Jesus, he started burning with the fire of passion for him. He was amazed at his choice by Jesus after he had been complicit in murder (Acts 8:1), and a chief persecutor of the church, and wanted to make it worth his (Jesus) while, for calling him.
Ezra was also devoted to the word (Ezra 7:10). He had mastered the word and gained competency in it, and during the coming back of the nation of Israel, he stood as a reference point. His passion became his competence, his devotion became his ministry, and his passion became his purpose. He led the whole nation in a rediscovery of the word of God after they had been dispersed for decades away from their land.
Paul came from the background of devotion to the letter of the word, and he would later write that the letter kills but the spirit gives life (2Corinthians 3:6). He also said that knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1Corinthians 8:1). And as a Pharisee, his knowledge really puffed him up and so was a violent man.
That showed that what he knew had puffed him up. He was empty of the love of God, but was pushed along by pride. His knowledge was his identity and not the love of God. The bible says knowledge will pass away but love stands forever (1Corinthians 13:8, 13).
After he encountered the love God, his number one identity was no longer what he knew but the person who knew him (Jesus), approved and empowered him, because of whom he endured persecution. While before, for him it was all about the knowledge he got, his zeal was a negative zeal, to deal with those who disagree with him, but when he met Jesus his zeal was directed at helping those who disagree with him.
As a recipient of grace he is able to communicate the same to other, all violence left his vein, as his heart pants with passion for God and that drives devotion to his word.
He was no longer motivated by his selfishness, to protecting his self-image but he was directed to make a defence of the image of Jesus impressed on his heart, using the scriptures. His devotion to the word goes beyond the letters to the person of Jesus, the living word.
Jesus told the Pharisee: “you search the scriptures thinking there is something you can gain life from it (John 5:39-40) but I am the life they point to. They unveil me, and you should come to me that you may have life.”
Devotion to the word means sacrifice. We cannot be devoted to the word except we see it as our life. Our devotion to Christ the life will be reflected in our devotion to the written word. When we realise that we would be in spiritual darkness without the word, then we will give it all it takes.
The bible says that Joseph was in chains until his word came (Psalm 105:17-20). When we realise that without the word we would be in bondage then we would know that we should take it serious. Freedom is sweet and light is good, and both comes from the word of God. Therefore the word of God is supremely important. God elevates his word above his name (Psalms 138:2).
Whatever help that God will give you is packaged in his word. When the world was in trouble in bondage to sin and in the control of darkness, God the Word came to the earth, as the solution.
Whatever controls your thought controls your life, so the mind of God, which man lost that is being restored us in Jesus Christ.
The devotion of Peter, and the first apostles, to Jesus, was because of his word (John 6:68). Peter, while everyone else departed from Jesus told Jesus: where shall we go because you have the words of eternal life?
Even after the ascension of Jesus, devotion to the word still marked the lives of his disciples. They said when certain issues were coming up in the new church, which they refused to allow to distract from the word of truth, we will give ourselves to the word, preaching it.
Paul wanted Timothy to do the same thing, telling him: preach the word, be instant in season and out of season. He added: pay attention to reading, the public reading of the scriptures (1Timothy 4:13).
Seeing that not everyone had scriptures at that time, and the level of literacy was low, scriptures needed to be read in the hearing of the people, and probably the letters written to such a church or passed around.
The church needs to be informed of the word of God. In the earlier church, the bible says that the new believers were committed to the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).
In the different types of heart interaction with the word in the parable of the sower that Jesus gave, the different hearts expressed different levels of devotion to the word, which eventually determine the fruit they will bear from the word. Without receiving the word with the right heart we would not be fruitful in it. Jesus Christ expects that we abide in him and his word abides in us, or otherwise we would not bear fruit (John 15:1-8).
The man in the first chapter of the book of psalms expressed the right devotion to the word, in it he meditates day and night, that was his chief preoccupation, and he stood as a testimony of the benefits of being devoted to the word.
He makes his time available for the word, he stands strong in the truth, and the root of truth in him became the fruits of prosperity, and people glorify God through him.
- – How to Be a Faithful Witness – (hiseternalword.wordpress.com)
- Devotion 7/30/2014 (godthedrivingforce.wordpress.com)
- A Week in the Word: Reading the Hebrew Bible with Jesus (progressiveredneckpreacher.wordpress.com)
- The Jesus Look (dayleimperfections.wordpress.com)
- Who Is Jesus Christ? (nanafredkofi.wordpress.com)