Rebuild and Renew
The Post-Exilic Books
of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


Standing watch as the wall of Jerusalem is rebuilt (artist unknown)
Standing watch as the wall of Jerusalem is rebuilt (artist unknown)

The Post-Exilic Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were written about the period between 537 and perhaps 430 BC. The themes are returning to Jerusalem after the Exile, rebuilding the temple, restoring the wall, and then learning to walk before the Lord with sincerity and purity.

Of course, these books seem pretty obscure to the average believer. As a boy I was impressed by a Sunday school illustration of people celebrating the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem under Nehemiah -- thousands of people marching on top of the new wall! You've probably heard some tithing sermons from Malachi -- "God will open the windows of heaven." But perhaps your familiarity ends there.

Some people would tell us that these books aren't very important. Only the New Testament is important, they say. Wrong! Jesus himself quotes from Zechariah and Malachi.

These five books have been revered as the inspired Word of God for more than two thousand years and contain vital nuggets of truth that God has for you and me. As I've been pouring over these books for the past half year I'm beginning to see how important they are.

Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
This is our 44th online Bible study since 1996. If you've participated in one before, you know how God can use them in your life. If not, then you have a treat in store for you. This is an cross-denominational study designed to help you grow as a disciple of Christ. -- Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. About the leader.

The books include:

  • How God changes the heart of kings to bless His people (Ezra, Nehemiah).
  • How to handle the enemies -- both physical and spiritual -- who hinder the rebuilding of the Temple of God in Jerusalem and in our hearts (Ezra).
  • Why God withholds his blessing, and why he restores it (Haggai).
  • Messianic promises of Christ's glory in the temple (Haggai).
  • How God uses prophets to encourage, motivate, and correct his people (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).
  • Why we shouldn't despise the day of small beginnings (Zechariah).
  • Messianic prophecies of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, "the one they have pierced," the 30 pieces of silver, the "cleansing fountain," and striking the shepherd that the sheep are scattered (Zechariah).
  • Nehemiah's faith, managerial wisdom, and spiritual toughness to complete God's assignment (Nehemiah).
  • The amazing feat of restoring the broken wall in only 52 days -- amidst heavy opposition -- and the importance of building protective walls in our lives to guard God's work in us (Nehemiah).
  • The amazing spiritual revival of Ezra's day (Ezra).
  • What happens when believers marry unbelievers (Ezra, Nehemiah, Malachi).
  • Finding the joy of the Lord as our strength (Nehemiah).
  • Spiritual lessons on purity of heart in worship and giving to God (Malachi).
  • Prophecies about John the Baptist -- the Messenger of Yahweh (Elijah who is to come) -- and Jesus, the Messenger of the Covenant, and the Son of Righteousness who rises with healing in his wings (Malachi).
  • And much, much more....

I'm particularly interested in spiritual lessons that we disciples of Jesus can apply to our lives to help us grow. These books are chock full of lessons for disciples, which I'll summarize at the end of each lesson, as well as highlight in the discussion questions interspersed in each lesson.


Available in paperback, PDF,  Kindle formats

Here is the pace of our study over 10 lessons:

  1. Returning to Rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1-6)
  2. Realigning Priorities (Haggai 1-2)
  3. Encouragement for the Builders (Zechariah 1-6)
  4. Visions of the Messiah (Zechariah 7-14)
  5. Confession and Repentance (Ezra 7-10)
  6. Nehemiah's Prayer (Nehemiah 1:1-2:8)
  7. Restoring the Wall (Nehemiah 2:9-7:73)
  8. Repentance and Revival (Nehemiah 8-13)
  9. Sincere Sacrifices, Faithful Priests, and the Marriage Covenant (Malachi 1-2)
  10. Tithing and the Day of the Lord (Malachi 3-4)

I encourage you to sign up for this study today so you don't forget -- and invite your friends to do the same.

Here's how we'll study together.

  • Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week. Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better.
  • If you sign up for the daily questions version, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use these lessons to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly over these weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions and exercises using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others' answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • With each lesson you'll receive a link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.

If you sign up now, you'll receive the first lesson on Friday, September 8, 2017, and finish before the Thanksgiving holidays. There is absolutely no charge for these e-mail lessons.

Here's how we'll study together.

  • Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week. Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better.
  • If you sign up for the daily questions version, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use these lessons to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly over these weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions and exercises using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others' answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • With each lesson you'll receive a link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.

Sign up now!

To sign up, start by clicking on your e-mail frequency preference:

You'll receive your first lesson the Friday after you sign up. There is no cost to participate in the study, though donations are encouraged so we can create more studies and reach more people.

We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.

Please don't sign up for more than one of my Bible studies at one time. There's no penalty, but each of them is pretty intensive. If you try to do too many studies at the same time without adequate reflection, you'll miss out on God speaking to you.


Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.