by Richard Mansel, managing editor
In Nehemiah 8, the people of God have returned from Babylonian captivity and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Through strong spiritual leadership, Nehemiah has instilled faith and courage in the people.
They gather to hear Ezra the scribe read the Law of Moses and stand as one for six hours to hear the Word of God proclaimed by Ezra and the priests.
“So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God: and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8, NKJV).
Serious students of God’s Word can be edified by this amazing passage in the following ways.
First, leaders of God’s people must keep the Word before the people (Leviticus 10:11; 2 Timothy 4:2). Scripture is the only avenue we have to God (John 1:1-3,14; 14:6). If we care at all about the souls of men, we will teach them the truth.
“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts”(Malachi 2:7).
Second, the Word must be understood for it to take root. We must do all we can to make the Scriptures clear to our hearers.
Biblical teaching requires an exhaustive amount of study so we can help Christians and non-Christians understand the Scriptures. We must be able to make the words on the page come alive as we learn better ways to teach.
The internet provides an incredible number of tools to help us learn more about God’s Word. Souls are worth the expended energy and time to grow in knowledge and understanding.
Third, we must remain in the Word when we teach. Our ideas and illustrations must never obscure the text. We speak the language that people understand. Whether we are speaking to farmers or lawyers, we must be savvy enough to elucidate the Gospel message.
As we share the Gospel, Christ must always be primary. We are messengers and nothing more and as preachers, teachers and Christians, there isn’t a greater calling under heaven.
Bible study is a lifetime activity, and the beautiful thing is that the Bible is inexhaustible. The more we learn, the more there is to learn.
Scripture is a renewable resource. We can study the same passages for a lifetime and they remain fresh and fertile, no matter how often we plough the fields.
God gave us the greatest Book in existence and the greatest vocation. Let us learn, live and teach as often as we possibly can!