John Smyth was evidently a gifted young man. He completed both a Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree at Cambridge University, finishing his Master’s studies in 1593. However, Smyth did not choose to rest on his accomplishments for long. His diligent independent study of God’s Word drew the attention of others, and in 1600 he was elected “lecturer to the corporation of the city of Lincoln,” a position that enabled him to expound the Scriptures to many. His position was short-lived because some claimed his preaching was too “personal.”
Continuing to preach, he was arrested three times for preaching illegally. However, he did not allow a busy schedule to keep him from studying God’s Word even more. His study of Scripture convinced him to withdraw from the Church of England and seek an independent congregation. When the congregation considered merging with another group of believers, Smyth refused the merger, citing Scriptural reasons for his refusal.
Further study of the Scriptures convinced Smyth of the need for rejecting infant baptism. Later study convinced him that immersion was the proper mode of baptism. And even more study helped him pen works that enabled other believers to understand the differences between Old Testament legislations and the life of the New Testament believer.
John Smyth was not a man without flaws. Some of his conclusions proved erroneous and were rejected, even by Smyth himself. Despite his imperfections, Smyth displayed a passion to continue to study God’s Word, refusing to rest upon past accomplishment or current knowledge. May God give us more Christians who will never stop studying God’s Word!
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Proverbs 2:1-6 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.