NOTE: This book is provided to me free by Reformation Heritage Books and Cross Focused Reviews without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
This is a short paperback devotional commentary on the book of Ezra and Nehemiah. It is written by a faculty member of the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. I appreciated the work’s devotional flavor. Reading through the book I wanted to see how the author would go about using other Scripture for cross referencing in light of the fact that Gerald Bilkes is a professor of biblical theology. He definitely is Christ-centered and Gospel driven. In addition, he gives New Testament priority in his hermeneutics. Thus, Bilkes sees both the book of Ezra and Nehemiah as being about the journey of conversion which leads him to notice that both Ezra and Nehemiah resembled the parable of the Prodigal Son: The fallen son has returned home to the Father. However the author sees it more than mere similarity since Bilkes invokes this parable again and again: It would be correct to say that Bilkes sees Ezra and Nehemiah through the interpretative lens of the parable. I think this can downplay other details and movements within the passage of Ezra or Nehemiah. I also wished that the book could have gone deeper in it’s exposition of Ezra and Nehemiah; I was yearning for more moments in the book where perhaps the author might have given exegetical insights that I would have not gotten if I were to read Ezra and Nehemiah on my own. Nevertheless this devotional was spiritually profitable and I appreciate Bilkes format of ending each chapter with some follow up questions. One definitely sees the influence of Puritans upon the author, with the book’s probe of the reader’s heart and motive.