Paige O’Neal


Although Ezra 7:9-10 is not a verse you hear quoted often, it touches upon important points in my philosophy of ministry.  In it Ezra, a priest and teacher of the Law, arrives in Jerusalem after living in exile, "because the good hand of his God was upon him.  For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel."  By God's grace, I seek to help people encounter God and His Word in such a way that their entire being is transformed, so that they can be doers of the Word and share His truth with others.

First of all, Ezra's ministry started with the good hand of God.  Anything I seek to do, “ministry” or otherwise, needs to begin with and be empowered by God for it to be worthwhile.  In the specific area of Bible studies at SVCC, I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide our discussions “into all truth” (John 16:13).

Secondly, "Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord . . ." shows me that studying God's Word is more than a mental acquisition of facts.  I desire for us to “set our hearts” by making a decision of the will that involves our inner being of mind, emotions, and desires, so that we can be transformed by the truth of Scripture.

". . . And to practice it," illustrates my hope that true study of the Word will lead to us physically living it out every day at work, school, home, etc.  It goes right along with James' challenge to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).

Finally, Ezra wanted to teach God’s truth to those in Israel who had forgotten it or hadn’t had the opportunity to hear it in the first place.  While not all of us may be official teachers, I pray that we can pass on the love and the truth of the Lord that we have experienced to the people God places in our paths each day.