Book of Nehemiah

The Book of Nehemiah (Yahweh Consoles or Comforts) lifts up God’s people from the discouragement of spiritual ruin to the satisfaction of success in carrying out God’s program for rebuilding. The insights into spiritual leadership and mutual ministry are set against the backdrop of the sufficiency of God’s power and God’s resources to accomplish His work. Much can be learned about the role of prayer, the application of God’s Word, the defense against Satan’s opposition and the value of a practical work ethic that stays focused on the priority task at hand.

Five key threads run through this important historical narrative:

  1. God’s Leaders – Insights into spiritual leadership – Feel the burden and stay on task
  2. God’s Troops -Imperative of all hands on deck – Fellowship in the gospel ministry
  3. God’s Work – Isolate what is top priority for God’s kingdom program – Focus on the task at hand
  4. God’s Word – Imperative of repentance and renewed obedience – Flee sin and follow the directions – faith in the Lord is the key
  5. God’s Enemies (Strong Opposition) – Insights into Satan’s tactics to discourage and distract – Fight off all the threats (both internal and external)

The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build.” – Nehemiah 2:20


Big Idea:

God’s Leaders Mobilize God’s Troops to Accomplish God’s Work According to God’s Word Despite God’s Enemies

Basic Outline:

I. (1:1 – 7:73) Revival / Rebuilding of God’s Work

A. (1:1-11) Revival (Rebuilding) Starts with Concerned Confessional Prayer
B. (2:1-10) Trusting God for Providential Favors
C. (2:11-20) Vision Must Translate Into Commitment
D. (3:1-32) Partnership in Mutual Ministry
E. (4:1-8) Defending Against Discouragement
F. (4:9-23) Keep Your Guard Up
G. (5:1-19) Financial Exploitation vs. Sacrificial Ministry
H. (6:1-19) God’s Work Prevails Despite Satan’s Devious Tactics
I. (7:1-73) The Importance of Godly Worship

II. (8:1 – 13:31) Revival / Rebuilding of God’s People

A. (8:1-18) The Celebration of Truth
B. (9:1-38) Historical Review of God’s Covenant Loyalty
C. (10:1-39) Rededication to Covenant Obligations
D. (11:1 – 12:26) Mighty Men of Valor
E. (12:27-47) Celebration of Successful Revival / Rebuilding
F. (13:1-31) Dealing with Spiritual Slippage


Why Study This Book?

  • To gain insights into spiritual leadership
  • To be able to recognize and combat Satan’s tactics
  • To increase one’s passion for revival and the edification of God’s people
  • To promote mutual ministry that focuses on the task at hand and perseveres against all obstacles
  • To combine the spiritual disciplines of prayer and worship with the practical hard work of expending maximum effort to get the job done
  • To exalt the sufficiency of God’s grace and His resources to accomplish His work
  • To energize our service for our Master


Notable Quotes:

Redpath: There is no type of service any of us can undertake which is beset with so much potential as is the service of the Master. On the one hand, there is so much that is rewarding, and on the other hand, so much that is disappointing. Many are the obstacles to be overcome and many the pitfalls to be avoided. On how many occasions we have taken up a task in the name of the Lord only to withdraw, beaten, discouraged, and baffled, and yet, somehow, baffled to fight better. For every discouragement has been allowed to come to us in order that through it we may be cast in utter helplessness at the Saviour’s feet. Then we return to the battle again, no longer trusting in the false and insufficient human resources which so foolishly we had taken into the battle, but now trusting in the limitless resources of our risen Lord.

Baxter: Nehemiah is a gem of a book in the spiritual lessons which it teaches us. It tells how, under the new leadership of Nehemiah, the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by the returned Remnant, and how the people themselves were reinstructed in the Law which God had given to their nation, long before, through Moses. This rebuilding of the city wall is like a graphic object lesson illustrating those truths which lie at the heart of all true service for God; and he who will give heed to the lessons here vividly pictured will be a wise and successful builder in spiritual things.

Swindoll: One book, written about 425 BC, still stands as a classic work on effective leadership; yet it is strangely obscure and virtually unknown to people today. It was written by a man who was prominent in business and politics in the ancient Middle East. He not only possessed an exceptional personal philosophy of leadership, but he lived it out as well. In his lifetime, this gentleman rose from utter obscurity to national recognition. The book he penned bears his name: Nehemiah.

Kidner: I cleansed . . . I established . . . I provided . . . makes a far less brilliant epitaph than Caesar’s boast, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ But Nehemiah’s work was the making of his people. His reforming zeal, partnered by the educative thoroughness of Ezra, gave to post-exilic Israel a virility and clarity of faith which it never wholly lost. This would have been the memorial most to his liking. This, indeed, now crowned by the lasting benefits of his book to the Christian church, surely constitutes a major part of heaven’s answer to his repeated prayer: Remember me, O my God, for good.