St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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The Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah

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The Bible, generally speaking, is in chronological order, but not strictly speaking. Genesis starts with the origin of humanity. Matthew was not necessarily the first writer of the Gospels, nor were the letters of Paul put in the order that he wrote them. This is also true for the Old Testament. Ezra and Nehemiah were both associated with the restoration of the Temple after the Babylonian exile. Ezra comes before Nehemiah in the Bible, but it is believed that Nehemiah came first. The Book of Daniel backtracks to the Babylonian exile and fills in what happened during that period. 

To figure this out, it may be helpful to read the introduction of each book you find in your bible. In each introduction, they will fill in the situation, the time, the writer, the purpose of the book, as well as give you an outline. In my bible, they even give a timeline to help you reference when things are happening. It gives you a context in which to read that book. The introduction was not part of the original Bible, it was put there by the companies that produced the bibles. Consequently, each bible may have different information. That is what making comparisons between different bibles so much fun. There is so much to learn.

Notice the titles that are in the Bible. The titles also were put in the Bible by those who made them. Again, each company may give them different titles. It makes it easier to find things and can help you understand things when reading the Bible. You might find these titles at the beginning of a chapter or even in the middle of one. For example; at the beginning of Ezra, they begin with the title, Decree of Cyrus, then beginning Chapter Two the title is Census of the Province and so on.

Ezra and Nehemiah both deal with the restoration of the Temple, though it could never be equal to its former beauty. Here is a verse we find in the book of Nehemiah from Chapter 8: 5-6. 5Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Do you recognize this in the Mass? I personally like reading Nehemiah because it is written as if the writer is speaking right to you. He seems to be a very simple and holy man who loves the Lord very dearly. Perhaps you may enjoy the read, too.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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