Study Ezra and Nehemiah

A 4-part Video Lecture Series

Curated from a Lecture Series by James M. Hamilton Jr.

Course Introduction

About the Course

This course is a 4-part video lecture series provided freely by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as an excerpt of their 2-part graduate level Old Testament Introduction course. In this course, James Hamilton explains highlights of the major contours of Ezra and Nehemiah. Each lecture is an average of 20 minutes long.

About James M. Hamilton Jr.

James M. Hamilton Jr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Senior Pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has written numerous books, including God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology and What Is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns.

Course curated by Phil Thompson

Ezra 1–2

Reflection Questions
  • What kind of relationship did Ezra have with the Persian government?
  • How does Ezra identify himself for his Jewish audience?
  • How does Ezra indicate his familiarity with the Old Testament Scriptures? What does Ezra’s statement regarding the Scriptures tell us about the Bible?
  • How should Ezra’s training influence how we view training in the Word today?
  • Should we consider Cyrus as a believer in God?
  • In what ways does the story in Ezra parallel the story of the Exodus?
  • How does Hamilton argue that Ezra does not promote racism?

Reading Assignment

Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah, pages 3–42.

Ezra 3–4

  • Note: audio cuts out from 7:48 to 10:30.

Reflection Questions
  • Where does Hamilton see inaugurated eschatology at play in Ezra?
  • Why do the people build an altar? What implications does this have for Christians today?
  • How does the building of the Temple connect to the work of Jesus?
  • Why does Ezra fast-forward and rewind his chronology and how does it connect with the broader theme of conflict between the seed of the Serpent and the seed of the woman?

Reading Assignment

Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah, pages 43–96.

Nehemiah 1–2

Reflection Questions
  • How did Hamilton’s explanation of the role of the cupbearer impact your understanding of that responsibility and the character of Nehemiah?
  • How does the report that comes to Nehemiah relate to the book of Ezra?
  • What is the basis of Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 1?
  • How does Nehemiah connect to Daniel?
  • What explanation does Hamilton offer for the interplay between Nehemiah and Deuteronomy?
  • How is Nehemiah’s method of explaining his desires to the king helpful for Christians today?

Reading Assignment

Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah, pages 97–163.

Nehemiah 2–13

Reflection Questions
  • What can Christians learn from the prayer life of Nehemiah?
  • What are some evidences of Nehemiah’s strategic thinking and planning?
  • Why is there a tension between Christlikeness and cluelessness?
  • Is there a contradiction between Ezra not requesting a protective detail and Nehemiah requesting one? How does this inform our understanding of issues of conscience?
  • How do the armed workers parallel Nehemiah’s life and ministry?
  • How does Nehemiah inspire those who followed him?

Reading Assignment

Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah, pages 164–241.