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In Memoriam: Norman De Jong

There is a stirring scene in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress which reminds me of the life and labors of my father, the Rev. Dr. Norman De Jong. Bunyan describes it as follows: Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, “Set down my name, […]

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Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 3 Background Reading: Jeremiah 52:1–14 Rebuilding the Walls As we begin reading through Nehemiah 3, we are probably asking ourselves whether we want to continue, or jump ahead to Nehemiah 4. In one sense, we find these names and places rather meaningless. Why should we bother learning all these names of persons […]

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Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 2 Background Reading: Esther 9:29–10:3 In our Bibles, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah precede the book of Esther. But chronologically, Queen Esther came to the throne of Persia in 483 B.C., twenty-five years before Ezra is sent to Jerusalem and thirty-eight years before Nehemiah appears before King Artaxerxes. During that interlude, […]

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Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 1 Background Reading: Esther 9:29–10:3 Introduction As we thumb through our English Bibles, we find four books that deal with events in the Persian Empire. In order of appearance, they are the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel. If you have been following our Bible studies during the last year, you […]

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Should We Pray Imprecatory Prayers?

I had been pondering this matter for some time. Out of curiosity I decided to ask that of some house guests who stopped by. When I asked the question, I got the most puzzled looks: “What is an imprecatory prayer?” Not a clue! I raised the same question to a later visitor. The same response: […]

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Bible Studies on Ezra Lesson 13: A Time of Reformation

Introduction When Ezra talks about intermarriage, he is not making distinctions along narrow ethnic lines. This book cannot be construed as a call for ethnic cleansing or for white supremacy or anything like that. This is a call for religious purity, for marriage only between believers, and for a rejection of marriage between believer and […]

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Bible Studies on Ezra Lesson 12: Ezra’s Lament for Israel

Scripture Reading: Ezra 9 Background Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:6–13; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1 Discussion Starters 1. What is the response of the leaders of Israel to the arrival and the teaching of Ezra? Did they come forward voluntarily, or were they coerced? (See Note 9:1.) Compare this with Achan’s confession in Joshua 7:13–21. 2. What specific […]

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