1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel. 2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:1 – 9, New International Version)
Theme: The Local Church
I hope you benefited from considering the questions about Bible Study posed yesterday. Thank you very much for the comments!
While technically the word church (translated from the Greek word ekklēsia) doesn’t feature in the Old Testament, there are similar words (e.g., the Hebrew word qāhāl, which means assembly), and there are lots of lessons from the Old Testament that can be applied to the church.
The Old Testament story of Nehemiah leading the Children of Israel in the rebuilding the city wall in Jerusalem is a powerful story at many levels. However, in keeping with our focus on the Discipline of Bible Study we will focus on the impact of the word of God on the assembly.
Please prayerfully read Nehemiah 8:1 – 9 (presented above) and consider the question below.
How can we encourage and support the kind of passion for Scripture exhibited in the Nehemiah passage within our local churches?