The Priest's Lips Should Keep Knowledge
Malachi 2:7
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

There exists a broad and general analogy between the priesthood of the Levitical, and the ministry of the evangelical dispensations, an analogy sufficiently distinct and well-defined to enable us to argue from the one to the other in several most important particulars.

I. THE NATURE OF THE KNOWLEDGE WHICH IS REQUIRED. When we speak of human knowledge we are perplexed by its variety and expansiveness. Where are we to find the precise boundaries of the knowledge which the priest's lips should keep? To a vigorous mind, all nature, and all history, and all philosophy, and every region of thought and imagination will be one vast storehouse of materials for the service of the Lord's temple. But some precise knowledge is here indicated, as specifically belonging to the priest; a professional knowledge, essential to the due discharge of his office. Surely it must be a knowledge of God's truth, revealed in holy scripture: the knowledge of Christian doctrine in all its parts and proportions, as propounded by God to the faith of men for their salvation. This is the nucleus around which all his knowledge is to cluster, the centre to which all his other attainments are to converge. This knowledge has a twofold character. It is intellectual, and it is experimental: it is attained by the ordinary operations of the mind, and by the experience of the heart. The Christian minister must be one who rightly divideth the word of truth; one who has the nice and accurate skill to adjust the several portions of God's truth in their right places and due connections; to build symmetrically as a wise master-builder, and not merely to say what is true, but what is true in its own place and proportion. And this is not a skill which is attained by every one. The priest's knowledge must be experimental; i.e. learned by a feeling sense of the religious wants and cravings of the human heart. A further and higher teaching is required to give the true knowledge of the Gospel; it is an inward feeling of their adaptation to the wants of human nature, and a personal experience of their power upon his own heart. This is the real secret of ministerial strength. There is another branch of know ledge no less essential to the due discharge of the ministerial office — a knowledge of human nature. The hearts and consciences of men are the materials upon which the Christian minister's labour is to be expended. He will study his own heart as the best guide to the knowledge of the hearts of others. The most eminently successful ministers have been most proficient in this knowledge.

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS KNOWLEDGE. This is evident from the nature of the case. The minister is a messenger: he must be conversant with all things essential to a clue execution of his commission. He is a teacher; and the people are to "seek the law at his mouth": he must therefore be competent to expound it. He is a referee in cases of doubt and difficulty; he must be skilled to deal with every such case which may come before him. He is the depositary of the treasure of the Gospel; he must be able to dispense it with faithfulness. There are, at times, some special reasons why the Christian minister should be "a scribe well-instructed unto the kingdom of heaven." Times which demand, if not a higher tone of piety, at least a higher standard of knowledge. There are some peculiar features in the present circumstances and position of the Church. The Christian ministry must take up a commanding position whence it may direct and control the progress of society.

(W. Nicholson, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

WEB: For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of Yahweh of Armies.

The Duty of the Church in Modern Times
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