Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther

series: Teach the Text Commentary Series

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Focused Biblical Scholarship to Teach the Text Effectively

The Teach the Text Commentary Series gives pastors the best of biblical scholarship and presents the information needed to move seamlessly from the meaning of the text to its effective communication. By providing focused commentary, this volume allows pastors to quickly grasp the most important information. Each unit of the commentary includes the big idea and key themes of the passage and sections dedicated to understanding, teaching, and illustrating the text.

Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are the historical books from Israel's postexilic period. While lacking miraculous intervention found in previous historical books, God is nevertheless active behind the scenes, working through human agency and sovereignly orchestrated "coincidences" to achieve his purposes: the restoration and protection of his people, despite opposition and outright threat.

"Packed with colorful historical background material and cogent theological insight into the narrative stories, this is one of the most helpful commentaries I know of on these important books. Anyone planning to teach or preach from Ezra, Nehemiah, or Esther would be wise to drink deeply from this expertly written volume."--J. Daniel Hays, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of biblical studies, Ouachita Baptist University

"Resources such as Nykolaishen and Schmutzer's Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther in Baker's Teach the Text Commentary Series are surprisingly difficult to find. They interpret Scripture firmly within its historical and literary contexts and help readers move beyond proof-texting to a genuine understanding of God's word to them, which is also God's word to us. Here you have an example of first-rate evangelical scholarship in service of the church, and I commend it with enthusiasm."--J. Scott Duvall, Fuller Professor of New Testament and chair of the Department of Biblical Studies, Ouachita Baptist University


Douglas J. E. Nykolaishen (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is an ordained minister and professor of biblical studies at Ouachita Baptist University.

Andrew J. Schmutzer (PhD, Trinity International University) is professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He is coauthor of Between Pain and Grace and has published in Bulletin for Biblical Research and Journal for the Study of the Old Testament.


Endorsements

"Nykolaishen and Schmutzer have done a superb job at bringing the stories in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther to life. Packed with colorful historical background material and cogent theological insight into the narrative stories, this is one of the most helpful commentaries I know of on these important books. Anyone planning to teach or preach from Ezra, Nehemiah, or Esther would be wise to drink deeply from this expertly written volume."

J. Daniel Hays, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of biblical studies, Ouachita Baptist University

"As one who preaches and teaches the text both in the church and in the university setting on a regular basis, resources such as Nykolaishen and Schmutzer's Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther in Baker's Teach the Text Commentary Series are surprisingly difficult to find. Like-minded interpreters will not be disappointed in their contribution. They consistently uncover the powerful relevance of these three Old Testament books, so often misunderstood or neglected by Christians. They interpret Scripture firmly within its historical and literary contexts and help readers move beyond proof-texting to a genuine understanding of God's word to them, which is also God's word to us. Their work is also truly 'theological' in paying close attention to God, the chief 'character' in the grand story of Scripture. The Theological Insights and Teach the Text sections are packed full of pastoral wisdom. Here you have an example of first-rate evangelical scholarship in service of the church, and I commend it with enthusiasm."

J. Scott Duvall, Fuller Professor of New Testament and chair of the Department of Biblical Studies, Ouachita Baptist University

"The idea and the design of the Teach the Text Commentary Series are winsome, readable, and practical, and Nykolaishen and Schmutzer have done an admirable job of achieving the goals of the series. They provide helpful insights all along the way about three Old Testament books not that well known among most Christians. I recommend this book highly."

David M. Howard Jr., professor of Old Testament, Bethel Seminary

"This excellent commentary displays all of the features that make the Teach the Text Commentary Series so helpful to teachers and preachers. The authors address key interpretive issues without overwhelming the reader with needless detail. They identify the key themes of each literary unit and provide useful theological insights. Perhaps most importantly, they identify each unit's 'big idea,' which surfaces the key theological principle of the unit and establishes a solid foundation for exposition. The authors then elaborate on this principle in the Teaching the Text section and offer ideas for illustrations. The authors demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther and serve as reliable guides to the proclamation of these books."

Robert B. Chisholm Jr., chair and senior professor of Old Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Drs. Douglas Nykolaishen and Andrew Schmutzer expertly and beautifully expound and apply the messages of Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther in this volume, another gem in the Teach the Text Commentary Series. Nykolaishen carefully traces the overall theme of the story of Israel (sin, exile, restoration) throughout Ezra-Nehemiah, ultimately exposing the subtle sovereignty of God at work in keeping his covenant promise to his once-wayward people. Schmutzer then moves through the story of Esther with depth and grace, adeptly showing that even though God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, nevertheless his presence is everywhere felt."

C. Marvin Pate, chair of theology, Ouachita Baptist University

"This volume fulfills the purpose of this commentary series very well--to help teachers and preachers 'teach the text.' Without going into all the historical and textual details, from beginning to end the writers are concerned first to help teachers and preachers of the Bible understand what the text is teaching in its historical context. Second, they provide meaningful practical guidance for communicating the theological significance of the text and its application to the Christian life today, even down to the level of useful illustrations. Pastors and teachers will find it to be a ready guide in their preparation for sermons and Bible studies."

Richard E. Averbeck, professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages and director of the PhD in theological studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"As a pastor responsible to preach God's Word faithfully each week, I depend on quality resources to clarify my thinking and sermon preparation. Nykolaishen and Schmutzer have served preachers and teachers in this volume by distilling exceptional scholarship in a pastoral manner. The exegesis is careful yet also set in a coherent theological framework. The authors make insightful connections between the horizon of the original audience and the ones we preach to on Sunday. Simply reading this book gets me excited to preach from Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther."

Aaron Damiani, pastor of Immanuel Anglican Church and author of The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent


The Authors

  1. Douglas J.E. Nykolaishen

    Douglas J.E. Nykolaishen

    Douglas J. E. Nykolaishen (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is an ordained minister and professor of biblical studies at Ouachita Baptist University. He and his wife, Cora-Fay, live in Arkansas.

    Continue reading about Douglas J.E. Nykolaishen

  2. Andrew J. Schmutzer

    Andrew J. Schmutzer

    Andrew J. Schmutzer (PhD, Trinity International University) is professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He is coauthor of Between Pain & Grace and has published in Bulletin for Biblical Research and Journal for the Study of the Old...

    Continue reading about Andrew J. Schmutzer


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