A key ingredient
“It might be instructive to inquire why it is that wherever Godliness is healthy and progressive we almost invariably find Learning in the Church of Christ attendant on it; while on the other hand, an illiterate state is attended sooner or later by decay of vital godliness. Not that all are learned in such times; but there is always an ‘ingredient’ of the kind among some of those whom the Lord is using. It may be that the energy of soul created by a revival leads on to the study of whatever is likely to be useful in the defence or propogation of the truth, whereas, when decay is progressing in a church, sloth and ease prevail, and are causes why theological learning is thought too heavy to be plodded through. With Samuel Rutherford and his contemporaries we find learning side by side with vital, and singularly deep godliness.”
It is a challenging thing to be learning and studying theology — indeed, sometimes one’s head just hurts! But obviously, Bonar has hit upon an interesting point here. The value, besides getting to know God more and understanding his purposes in salvation, etc., is that it will spur us on to holy living. It is interesting that there is such a tie here but when you spend a moment thinking about it you realize that the first step in LIVING to please God is KNOWING what pleases God. In my experience, it is also the greatest safeguard against following error, whether in our thoughts or in our actions — when God’s Word is planted in our hearts, it is then that his Spirit can call it to mind and challenge us with it.