Welcome to our new study: Ezekiel!
What is God’s perspective on sin? What is His posture toward His people when they persist in sin…and when they repent? What was it like to be a prophet of (mostly) doom and gloom? For the next few months we’ll work our way through the book of Ezekiel, learning about the holiness of God and what it’s like to stand on God’s Word even when “God’s people” don’t want to hear it. You might be surprised to find out just how relevant this Old Testament book is to Christians today!
The image in the title pic for this study alludes to Ezekiel 33:7:
So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
In Ezekiel’s day a watchman would be stationed in a watchtower in an area with good visibility so he could see if an enemy was approaching the city. The watchman needed good eyes and the ability to distinguish an enemy from an ally. If he spotted an enemy, he was to alert everyone to the impending threat and the need to mount a defense. God appointed Ezekiel a spiritual “watchman” to His people, Israel. The book of Ezekiel is God’s warning to His people – through the prophet Ezekiel – that the enemy of sin is overtaking them.
Parts of the book of Ezekiel can be a little challenging. Your comprehension will be challenged. Your patience might even be challenged. But it’s good to stretch ourselves and choose books that help us to develop discipline in our study of the Word, rather than always choosing the shorter or “easier” books of Scripture. I have complete confidence that you’re up for the challenge and that God will grow you in the grace and knowledge of Christ as you apply yourself to His Word.
Ezekiel is one of the longer books of Scripture, weighing in at 48 chapters. This means that instead of studying approximately one chapter per week in depth (as we usually do in my studies of shorter books), we will be covering at least two chapters (often more) per week with a broader perspective.
As I mentioned in this recent article on study resources, you might – particularly for this book of the Bible – want to invest in a good study Bible or at least check out some of the online resources that can help if you have questions while you’re studying.
If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:
The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.
My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.
I will post a new lesson on the blog every Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog each week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.
I use hyperlinks liberally. The Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.
All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.
You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).
Introduction to Ezekiel
Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…
Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.
Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.
What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.
What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?
What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.
When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.
So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of Ezekiel, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.
Read the following overviews of the book of Ezekiel, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:
Bible Introductions: Ezekiel at Grace to You
Overview of the Book of Ezekiel at Reformed Answers
Summary of the Book of Ezekiel at Got Questions
1. Who wrote the book of Ezekiel? How do we know this?
2. Approximately when was Ezekiel written? What is the geographical setting of the book of Ezekiel? Here are some maps (scroll down to “Ezekiel”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of Ezekiel.
3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of Ezekiel? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of Ezekiel.
4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Ezekiel: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?
5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Ezekiel?
6. What are some of the major topics of instruction or exhortation in the book of Ezekiel? How do these topics relate to the theme of Ezekiel?
7. What are some ways Ezekiel points to and connects to Jesus?
8. What else did you learn about Ezekiel or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?
Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding for the text and a greater appreciation for his attributes of wrath and mercy as we study Ezekiel together.