Does Nehemiah 8:8 when Ezra read from the law and explained the meaning provide us with a biblical model for preaching? I think not. Read on to find out why.
Summary of Nehemiah 8
In Nehemiah 8, the people of Israel gather in Jerusalem to hear Ezra read from the book of the Law of Moses. They did this on the first day of the seventh month, and Ezra read the law from morning until midday (8:2-3). Verse 8 is often referenced as giving instruction on how to preach. The verse says that first the law was read, and then someone gave the sense of the reading to help the people understood what was read.
Though this is often used as a great example of how to preach, what Ezra did in this text is not at all similar to modern preaching.
Why Nehemiah 8:8 is Not a Model Sermon
First of all, the reason for the reading and explaining of the law was because most of the Israelites had never heard it before (Neh 8:14). They were biblically illiterate. Second, this time of teaching was not a weekly event, but was a daily event, which lasted for three or four hours every morning, for seven days in a row (Neh 8:3, 18). For one week the people gathered in the morning to hear the Law read and explained, and then in the afternoon, they would eat, drink, and celebrate (8:10-12).