Bible Journaling: The Book of Ezra

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally written as one single book but were separated much later. Read the two together to find the author’s true intent with this book.

BlogFaith & Spirituality Bible Journaling: The Book of Ezra

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally written as one single book but were separated much later. Read the two together to find the author’s true intent with this book.

For a broader view of this book of the Bible, we encourage you to watch this video:

Bible Journaling Tip: If you are reading this post about Bible journaling, the chances are good that the inside of your Bible is full of colorful pictures, keywords, and loose notes. But what about the cover? We value the Bible as the written word of God himself - our most treasured possession. What would be the most beautiful Bible cover that you can imagine? Is there a way you can add small, but significant and meaningful personal touches to your plain-cover Bible? If you're an online Bible journaler, could you create an introduction or mission video for your online Bible? Similar to how YouTube allows you to create an intro video for a new YouTube channel, you also have the option to record and publish a video describing the purpose of your Bible Study journal!

(information)  -  encounter God through the Scripture 


This book is believed to have been written by Ezra, who we will learn about this book and in the second part of this book, called Nehemiah.  See if you can find any references in the text where the author points to himself. You can take on the perspective of a detective and try to deduct as much as you can about the world of the author in order to understand them better. Where did he live? When did he live? What was he motivated by?


The Israelites needed this book to remind them of all that God had done for them - He had brought them back from exile, and given them good leaders to rebuild the temple. In the book of Ezra, we will read about two of these leaders: Zerubbabel and Ezra. And in the next part of the book we will read about the third leader, Nehemiah. 


This book picks up after the Babylonian exile and tells us about what happened after the people returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt their lives there. It begins about 50 years after the exile first happened. This could be read as the next step in the story that ended in 2 Kings. The Israelites, the people of God, had their own kingdoms rise and fall, which led them to be far from God. The consequence of their sin was exile to Babylon - what would happen next? Let’s find out. 


Historical in nature, the book of Ezra gives us the stories of the first two leaders who are tasked with rebuilding the temple. Each leader’s part has 3 parallel points of focus: 

1. The king of Persia is prompted by God to send the leader to Jerusalem 

2. The leader encounters opposition and push-back, which is overcome

3. There is an anti-climatic end

(revelation)  -  contemplate / reflect on our own lives

Key verse:

The Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God.

— Ezra 6:22 NIV


In this verse, we read about how God changed the attitude of the king. What does this say about God’s power? Does his power only extend to the people who love him? Have you ever prayed that God can change a circumstance, or change somebody’s attitude? Also, note that the purpose of the Israelites was not for their own gain, but it was to glorify God.

(transformation)  -  respond with creative worship action  

Drawing prompt:

Hope is a big theme in this book, and in most of the Old Testament scriptures. There are prophetic hopes that the people had after the exile… like the rule of a Messianic king, and like rebuilding the new temple, and that God’s rule would come over all the nations. 

Open a new page in your journal and write at the top: Hope for the future. On the page, use pencils and paint to illustrate the prophetic hopes that the people of God were holding on to. Also show how these hopes have been crushed by their circumstances, like being exiled to Babylon.

If you're using JournalOwl's modern interactive eReader, open the electronic drawing pad. Your image will automatically save to your online Bible Journal.

Bible Journey with JournalOwl:

Here are some questions / prompts provided by the JournalOwl community. 

  • What were the Israelites obeying by building the altar in verse two? (Ezra 3:2)
  • What did the Israelites do when they had completed their building project? (Ezra 3:3)

Follow this link to dive into this book with an online Bible Study group.

Writing prompt:

Let’s study the anticlimax of Zerubbabel’s temple rebuild: 
Read the accounts of when the temples were dedicated in Leviticus 9, and 1 Kings 8. What differences do you see in God’s presence manifesting between those accounts and the one in Ezra 3:10 onwards. In the previous two God comes as a cloud and the whole experience is one of holiness and awe. What feelings do you see in the account in Ezra 3? 

Write down a short paragraph explaining why the elders might have reacted to Zerubbabel the way that they did. Have you been in a situation where you expected God to show up in a big way and then he did not? Should we be content with religious gatherings where God’s presence is not tangibly present at all? Where was God - can you find a difference between these accounts that could help us understand why God did not show up in the same way?


God, I want to thank you for the book of Ezra. Thank you for being so interested in the day-to-day details of the lives of those who love you. Help me to seek your presence more and more each day. Let my response to this text be worship unto you!