Holy Bible September 23-24 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Nehemiah 7:73b-9:37, Psalms 1, 119. Note: The Bible reading is rather long today, so you may want to split it up into two days, and then read this Bible study.

The Importance of God’s Word

How important is the Bible? Is it just a religious book people carry to church on Sunday, or is it something more? Have we read the entire book? Are we well acquainted with the history of Israel and the lessons learned by His people? If we have followed these Bible studies from the beginning, we should have an excellent understanding of the Old Testament—how the events and people of the Bible fit together in chronological order, and just as important—what it all means to us. We will begin the New Testament September 28.

For those who have come to this chronological Bible study late, or are just checking this site out before they begin the New Testament, Nehemiah provides a good overview of the Old Testament in chapter 9 of today’s Bible reading.

After the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple and the Jerusalem wall, there was great rejoicing. The people praised the LORD for all He had done for them. They sang many songs on their way up to Jerusalem for festal celebrations (Psalms of ascension).

In today's Bible reading, the Jewish people continue to feel grateful, so they gather together to hear the teaching from God's Word. The Israelites are greatly encouraged when the Scriptures are not only read but also explained. The Levites are good teachers because the people now understand the Scriptures. And, what they understand changes them.

Do we attend Bible studies, either in small groups or in churches, so we get a thorough understanding of the Bible and how to live? It is very necessary. God has appointed preachers and teachers in churches or other places of worship to effectively communicate the Bible's teachings. We should seek to gather in such places.

The goal of Bible study, however, is not merely the collection of Biblical truths but the transformation of lives. The people of Israel are transformed by the teaching of the Scriptures. They grieve over their sins and rejoice at the LORD’s mercy and grace. They decide to keep the festivals at their appointed times and worship Him. Daily, they stand to hear God’s Word; and they listen, not just for a few minutes, but for many hours.

Psalm 119 is lengthy Hebrew song that focuses on the value of God’s Word. It is unique in its structure.

This psalm is written in an acrostic (alphabetical) arrangement. In each paragraph (strophe) of eight verses each line begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (The 22 strophes correspond to the 22 letters of the alphabet) So verses 1-8 each begin with the first Hebrew letter, verses 9-16 each begin with the second letter and so on [This provided a good memory tool for the Hebrew students].

The psalm is largely a collection of prayers and meditations on the Word of God, referred to by 10 synonyms….Law…Word… Saying… Commands… Statutes… Judgments… Precepts… Testimony…Way… [and] Path.

The psalmist was persecuted by men of rank and authority, who ridiculed his beliefs, seeking to put him to shame and make him give up his faith. But he strengthened himself by meditating on the Word of the Lord, which to him was his comfort, his prized possession, his rule of life, and his resource for strength—all of which drove him to desire it even more (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, edited by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, p. 879).

The theme given in Psalm 119 seems to reference the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah. While they attempted to rebuild the temple and the city walls, their people and leaders were opposed, maligned, and threatened. Three times the work was stopped, but through the prophets of Haggai and Zechariah they were encouraged to repent, return to the LORD, and to rebuild the temple and city walls. The LORD changed the hearts of the kings to pave the way for completion of their projects, and God was their defense from their hostile neighbors.

Like the Israelites suffered, have we suffered persecution or the smearing of our good name? Have people threatened us or ridiculed our beliefs? Have they tried to discourage us from believing God cares and will help us? Reading the Word of God, the Bible, gives encouragement to those of us who are oppressed.

Nehemiah 9:5—10:39 follow the normal pattern of the Suzerain Treaties of their day (more…). The Israelites are free in their land to do as they please but are still in bondage to Persia. The nation of Israel is a vassal state; Persia owns their bodies, their land, and their cattle. They are taxed for the privilege of living in their own land. They realize they are experiencing the results of the sins of their forefathers which got them into trouble, but as they read the Word of God, they know to look to Him for their help. Nehemiah prays to God that He will be sympathetic to their distress. Are we distressed by our circumstances or people around us? We can get help, too, if we seek God, read His Word and obey it.

Lessons to Live By

  • It is good to rehearse the lessons God has taught us in our lives, and to praise Him for His grace and mercy.
  • It is good for us to attend a church or other place of worship where the Bible is taught and its meaning is well communicated and applied.
  • The goal of Bible study is not just the collection of Bible truths—it is meant to be applied. If we do this, we will be changed and favored by God.
  • Are we feeling distressed because of our circumstances or because of certain people? Reading the Word of God gives encouragement to those of us who are oppressed.
  • Let's read the Word of God, listen to it, meditate on it, and obey it. It will give us spiritual light and life; it will give us understanding, direction, and joy.
  • God can help us when we seek Him with all of our heart. Do we know Him? He offers us forgiveness, peace, spiritual life and wisdom (more...)

Focus Verse: Psalm 119:130 (NIV) “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

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A Look Ahead: Once our hearts have been changed by God's Word and His Spirit, How Do We Keep Our Zeal For God? Join us for our Next Lesson to find out.

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