The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

The Prophet Ezra’s Know-Be-Do Principle

Posted on: June 16, 2015

 BND Blog#7 Know Be Do


Years ago, I sat in a seminary classroom listening to master teacher, Dr. Howard Hendricks, expound on a passage that few of us even knew was in the Bible: Ezra 7:10, which says, “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 all Israel.”

Dr. Hendricks taught that Ezra:

  1. Studied the law of the Lord to acquire a biblical knowledge base.
  2. Practiced it to develop a biblical lifestyle, and
  3. Taught it, to fulfill a biblical ministry.

He called this the “know-be-do” principle.

Then he said a person’s lifestyle will never go beyond his knowledge, and a person’s ministry will never go beyond his lifestyle. A mature Christian is a complete package.

This truth rocked my world and burned itself deeply into my gray matter. Instantly, I understood it. Instantly, I realized how important it was. Instantly, I knew that it was going to help me direct my own spiritual development as well as the development of others.

I was a fairly new Christian at the time, and spiritual growth for me was like trying to build a house without a blueprint, it was so big and complicated I didn’t know how to tackle it.

I was stuffing my head with more information than I could comprehend, and had gotten a little careless about being balanced… about being complete. This simple observation about the know/be/do principle in Ezra 7:10 gave me a more complete concept of the Christian life.

Now I had a strategy. I would focus on learning truth. Then, I would concentrate on trying to reflect that truth in my attitudes, values and behavior. And finally, I would challenge myself to act when action was called for.

I determined that I would learn as much as I could, since – though knowledge isn’t everything – everything rests on knowledge. Then, I would dedicate myself to becoming what I was meant to be, as the foundation for my ministry. I determined that I would never be satisfied trying to build a ministry on knowledge, but rather on a lifestyle.

Those few moments in seminary helped change my life. I hope these few moments will help change yours, as Dr. Hendricks’ observation passes down from him to you.


For more on this and other subjects, see my latest book, Brave New Discipleship.

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