Do you have a favorite passage of Scripture, one that always brings you comfort, or hope, or joy, or peace? Today’s reading is one of those passages for me. As a teacher of Scripture, my heart soars when I read the long list of names in verses 4 and 8 of those who helped the people understand God’s Word. I may never be an Ezra or a Nehemiah—it’s not what God has called me to. But there’s a whole string of “nobodies” in this passage whom God allowed to teach and serve His people. That’s encouraging!
There are a few other reasons this passage is a favorite of mine. First, the group listening to Scripture included “men and women and all who were able to understand” (v. 2). Scripture is for everyone! It isn’t only for men, and it isn’t only for adults. The assembly gathered to learn Scripture included women and children as well. That seems normal to our 21st century minds, but it was remarkable in Nehemiah’s day and time that women and children would be included along with the men—and it’s a pattern Jesus continues in the New Testament.
Second, those teaching made sure the people understood Scripture. The teachers were “making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read” (v. 8). God wants to communicate with His people—He wants us to understand His Scripture clearly and plainly. And He has given us people to help us understand, so we can apply His Word, knowing and loving Him and others. Third, the people who gathered to learn Scripture worshiped the Lord. Learning Scripture should always provoke us to worship its Author and our Creator.
>> How does this passage speak to your heart and life? God wants you to understand His Word, to worship Him, and to realize that Scripture is for all people, not just some! The Bible is for everybody. That’s why we at Today in the Word are dedicated to sharing God’s life-changing Word!
It is encouraging to be reminded that You intend us to understand Your Word. Scripture is meant to be accessible to everyone! Help us therefore to be diligent in our study of Your Word, enlighten us by Your Holy Spirit.