Thoughts On Edification
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
To edify is essentially to build up, like one would a home or office complex via proper construction. The idea is to start with the foundation, and build upon it, layer upon layer, piece upon piece, support upon support (or as it relates to truth, fact upon fact, precept upon precept, scripture upon scripture, until the entirety (“basement to roof,” basic to complex”) is complete.
This often takes time. It takes effort. It also takes patience and some degree of knowledge and understanding. As it relates to mortals, just as one cannot go… “poof” and cause a high-rise or skyscraper to appear, one cannot simply make an affirmative statement (e.g. on deep doctrine), and have that statement/teaching build up (edify) the hearts and minds of those hearing. Every doctrinal statement, and every secular assertion of any value, should be backed by facts to support it (again, think foundation, think support, think structure).
Moreover, if the edifice is to be deemed trustworthy, it must be open to thorough inspection. Is the foundation solid, what of the floorboards, the beams, the bricks, and the other key components? Are they stable and accurately laid down? Is the construction solid, sturdy, concrete? Are all of the facets properly fastened together, forming a safe and comprehensive whole? Or… are there holes throughout? Are there areas not open to thorough review and inspection? Are any of the aspects shaky, feeble, unstable? Are there parts lacking the necessary infrastructure and support? Is that what is being put forth, erected, shaky and weak — unable to bear weight or substantive scrutiny? These are the things that must be considered.
The Berean is willing to hear objectively but also to vet carefully. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so [Acts 17:11].” They understood the parallel command to “Despise not prophesyings [i.e. to receive the word readily]. 21 Prove all things [i.e. by searching the scripture daily to see if the things are so]; hold fast that [i.e. that teaching, that doctrine/assertion] which is good. 22 Abstain [literally, holding yourself away] from all appearance [literally, forms, manifestations] of evil [1 Thessalonians 5:20-22].” The Christian hears, they consider, they search the scripture, and then they should be able to enquire, test, scrutinise, to further advance/progress in understanding. This is the path to edifying, and being edified, God willing.
For more on the Greek word translated edify (or a related form) see: