40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 6 – Bible Study

6 Comments

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.  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. 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.  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.  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. 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.  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. 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.  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

Context:

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. 

Bible Passage:

Please prayerfully read Nehemiah 8:1 – 9 (presented above) and consider the question below.

Question:

How can we encourage and support the kind of passion for Scripture exhibited in the Nehemiah passage within our local churches?

6 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 6 – Bible Study

  1. The scene in the Bible passage above is what we see now when we go to church…a pastor at his pulpit preaching. While we don’t go to someone and ask them to read the Bible to us, we go to church expecting to hear it.

    These people asked for God’s Word to be read to them, and they were emotional as they heard it. It’s obvious it made an impression on them. We can support and encourage this type of passion for God’s Word by being a part of a Bible-believing local church. When we apply what we learn from church to our lives, share it with others, invite others to the church, etc., we are giving them a chance to experience changes in their lives as they also hear the Word of God and apply it to their lives.

    Many people develop a passion for something that influences their life. It could be a passion for cars, a passion for teaching, or a passion for helping others. It’s usually something fulfilling. God’s Word is beyond fulfilling. We just need to hear/read it, understand it, and apply it. Our local church is a great place for that.

    We should encourage our pastor with words of affirmation, especially when he preaches a message that greatly impacts us. We should also support our church financially, which will increase the likelihood that the Word of God is shared not only locally, but in distant places of the world also.

    When we allow God’s Word to feed us, we will develop a hunger and passion for it.

  2. We can encourage our local churches to be as passionate and faithful in studying and relying on God’s word by our action, sincerity and devotion to God not to mention our dedication to serve through our churches. In Nehemiah 8::1-9, we saw how the leaders or teachers devotedly teach their people. They even consider the day they learn or study as a Holy day, which only showed how sincere and serious they were in studying the scriptures. The people and leaders of church in this Nehemiah time made sure they understand clearly the meaning and what message God’s word conveyed to them as we saw the length of time they dedicated in studying/discussing God’s word.

    In verse 9, we can see how the governor, Nehemiah and Ezra the teacher instructed the people in the assembly and how their people listened, obeyed and even weeping as they hear and understand God’s Holy Word. I can see the unity and the holy spirit’s presence in the midst of the congregation at the time, and that encouraged me to continue on gathering, worshiping, studying God’s word and having fellowship with believers in this present time at my local church. Truly this chapter in the bible was an inspiring story that would motivate us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and never get tired as we study the Bible at our local churches in this present time.

  3. It can be encouraged by my own openness to the Holy Spirit. Inviting Him to convict me to repentance and reverence through the scripture. The outcome witnessed and experienced by those in my Small Group or church family will ignite the same in others.
    I consider the assembly of men women and children listening to Ezra reading the scripture in the first person who shed a tear openly because of their conviction. They might’ve been embarrassed or caught off guard by their emotional response. But that authentic vulnerable response might have allowed others to realize it was the appropriate response, leading to the assembly joining in that corporate repentance.

  4. I was immediately struck and my heart was warmed by the fact that it was the people who gathered and asked Ezra to read the book of the Law. This comes on the heels of completing the wall where every member of the community was involved and involved trial through opposition and even conflict in the community (Neh 5). Community passion for the plans, purposes and word of God were running high facilitated by the whole community obediently taking ownership and responsibility for the mission at hand. I noted that Ezra was the teacher among other leaders that helped the people understand the word. The teaching objective was to make it clear and give the meaning, the audience was seeking, attentive and interactive. The result was worship, conviction and encouragement in rejoicing in the holy and faithful God. My passion for the Lord and his mission is stirred just in the time spent doing this today.

  5. It is interesting to note the similarities with Moses bring the book of the Law to the people and the people requesting Ezra to ‘bring the book of the Law of Moses’. In both accounts the people were assembled. It is instructive and interesting the sequence of responses recorded as the word was read -vs 5 they stood up, vs 6 they answered Amen, Amen lifting up their hands then they bowed their heads in worship.

    This indicated that there was an established reverence and tradition for the word of God. In our church that tradition/respect is still maintained – we stand for the reading of the gospel. A prayer is said before an a response after. I would wish to suggest that not only must we ensure this is maintained but we remind each other why we do, what we do. So that it take root and becomes part of our daily lives – that Spiritual posture for the Word.

    Vs 8 & 9 It was read with interpretation so the people understood, then the governor & priest (State and Church) taught the people. Highlights the need for the church today to be in tuned with the Spirit, so time is created for teaching, learning and interaction to occur within and outside the standard service settings. – Equipping the saints for ministry

    We can encourage and support this by:
    Maintaining a spiritual posture and reverence for the word
    Equipping the saints for ministry
    Joining fellowship with like minded faith based believers

  6. I agree with what everyone has said above, but in addition when our kids were much younger it was always my delight to read bible stories to them and help them memorize God’s word. Our families make up the local church, so facilitating the reading of Gods word when they are young sponges was my way of encouraging a passion for the scriptures. When we lived in London they had a program in our church, where once per week you could (one on one) read scripture to (mostly teens, but not limited to them).. So we have to be intentional with seeking to gain an appetite for Gods word.

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