Featured Class: Ezra & Nehemiah

Featured Class: Ezra & Nehemiah taught by David Guzik

CCBC offers students the opportunity to anchor themselves in books of the Bible to gain a deeper understanding of their faith and how to practically apply their beliefs outside the classroom. Recently our students had the privilege of studying the Old Testament books Ezra and Nehemiah with guest instructor Pastor David Guzik. Here is what he had to say about teaching these books and being blessed by the class’ eagerness to learn the Bible.

  • What’s been the joy of preparing for class? What have you gotten out of preparing to teach Ezra & Nehemiah?

These are amazing books of the Bible talking about Israel’s return from exile and what God had to do in them. They point towards Jesus and His work of rebuilding in our life, His work of restoration – on a lot of different levels these books speak to us about the work of Jesus. That’s what’s great about the preparation; I just really enjoy spending time with Bible college students. Teaching in a classroom setting is something very satisfying for me. I enjoy the give and take with students and I enjoy an intense look at a book of the Bible and a class like this gives us that opportunity.

  • What’s something you hope from the class would stick with them to apply in their lives? 

There’s a lot of practical instruction from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. These guys were outstanding examples of godly men – men that God used, men that God used in leadership over His people. More than anything, of course, we just want to see how these things point to Jesus Christ and His great work.

  • What encouragement can you give Bible college students?

What we see in this is the necessity of being a doer. Ezra and Nehemiah are books about men doing the work of God. Sometimes bible college cultivates an atmosphere of learning without doing but we want to be not only hearers of the Word but doers of the Word as well.

Jorden Skiles was able to take Ezra & Nehemiah. These are his thoughts:

What did you enjoy most about the class?

What I enjoyed the most about this class was how interactive it was. Throughout the class, David Guzik would ask the students questions helping us to think about the Scriptures we were reading more in-depth and be prepared to give an answer. Due to the discussions that took place, I felt that I learned more and it helped to make the class very engaging. Out of all the classes I have taken in my time here this class has been one of the most enjoyable and it has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of God’s Word.

What has stood out to you the most and how can you use this to benefit you in the future?

I think what stood out to me the most was the many examples of prayer, and fasting found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Yet what held to most significance for me wasn’t the amount of times they are mentioned praying but, that they prayed with diligence, fervency, and eagerness. These are examples which I need to learn from and can greatly benefit me in the future if I will give the same dedication to prayer that these men show.

How can you practically apply what you have learned to your life?

One of the main things that stood out to me in this class was how the Lord used the men in these books. Specifically, Ezra and Nehemiah to lead His people. The Lord could have used anyone to do the work that they did, but He chose them. I think He chose them because of their heart for the Lord which is clearly seen in both Ezra and Nehemiah. In Ezra 7:10 we are told that Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Then in the first chapter of Nehemiah we see that he wept, mourned, fasted and prayed for many days that the Lord would redeem His people and give Nehemiah His’ servant favor in the sight of the king. Both these men had a deep desire to seek the Lord and be His servants. But the most important thing to notice is that it was said of both Ezra and Nehemiah that, “the good hand of God was upon them.” Nehemiah and Ezra were only able to do the work and lead God’s people because God was the one leading and empowering them. So one of the main applications I see for my own life is just to continue to be a servant of the Lord. To daily prepare my heart to seek the Word of God, to obey it and to share others that which God has taught me. Then just remain surrendered to the Lord and His will knowing that He will lead me and enable me for whatever work He has for me. Other men were capable to do the work God desired to be done, but God’s hand was upon Ezra and Nehemiah and I think it was because they had prepared their hearts to serve the Lord and were attentive to hear His call.

If you were recommending this class to a friend, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that this class has been a huge blessing in my life. I have gained a deeper understanding not only of the history of Ezra and Nehemiah but also of Israel’s history as a whole. Yet throughout the class there are also so many applications to the daily Christian life, to leadership, and to both the practical and spiritual aspects of ministry.  In addition I have also learned to appreciate even more how every book in Scripture contains a great understanding of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. I once again saw through this class how all of Scripture points to Christ and our need for Him. Overall this class was one of the most impactful and influential class I have taken so I would highly recommend this class to any and all of my friends.

Charity Bechtol was also a student in the class. Read what she had to say about Ezra & Nehemiah:

What did you enjoy the most about this class?

I really enjoyed going through two books of the Bible in such a concentrated amount of time. It allowed me to focus on these two books in a way I had not done before. It removed the divisions we tend to make due to chapter breaks and allowed me to understand each book as a whole. I also really appreciated Pastor Guzik’s approach to the many questions asked during the class. He allowed the student to flesh out the question and think about it, rather than just immediately answer the question.

What has stood out to you the most and how can you use this to benefit you in the future?

What really stood out to me was the many prayers found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. We can learn not only of the importance of prayer but the Biblical ways in which we should pray. Nehemiah’s prayers, in particular, reminded me of the importance of basing our prayers in who God is. Anything we ask for must come from the place of who he is. Our praise should come from who he is. Our prayer life and our entire life should center around God and who he is.

How can you practically apply what you have learned to your life?

There are so many practical applications of Ezra and Nehemiah; however, there are two in particular that stand out to me. One is the importance of godly people who are willing to exhort each other and intercede with God on behalf of others. I also saw practical ways in which I can improve my personal prayer life.

If you were recommending this class to a friend, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to take it! There is something amazing about studying books of the Bible in such depth and concentrated amount of time.