These daily online studies are adapted from our Quiet Time Bible Guide. The studies go through the Old and New Testaments in just over two years. The approach taken by our quiet time Bible studies does not include answers. The goal of the study is to help you dig into Scripture for yourself. You can go deeper using a commentary, Bible background guide or Bible handbook.

Ezekiel 18: Assuming Personal Responsibility

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Ezekiel.

"The devil made me do it" is one extreme statement of passing responsibility to someone else. Sometimes we try to excuse ourselves by the company we keep, as Adam did long ago (Ge 3:12). Up until now the prophet has been explaining how national sin will lead to national punishment. But what about God's dealings with individuals? Do good people suffer with the bad for sins they never condoned? In this chapter Ezekiel focuses on individual responsibility.

Warming Up to God

Recall an incident when you got blamed for something done by others. What was especially difficult to accept?

Read Ezekiel 18

Discovering the Word

  • In this chapter Ezekiel compares the fates of unrighteous sons with righteous fathers (vv. 5-13), and righteous sons with unrighteous fathers (vv. 14-18). What are the outward marks of righteousness and unrighteousness?
  • How does Ezekiel answer the question "Why does the son not share in the guilt of his father" (vv. 19-20)?
  • In this chapter Ezekiel gives several fundamental principles about the way God relates to people (vv. 4, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30). Put these in your own words.
  • What hope is there for the righteous and the unrighteous?
  • What is revealed about the heart of God in his treatment of individuals (v. 23)?
  • What makes repentance a desirable alternative (vv. 30-32)?

Applying the Word

  • What answer do you now have for the common complaint "God is not fair"?
  • In what way does this chapter give you confidence to face God daily and finally on the day of judgment?

Responding in Prayer

Pray that you may have God's perspective when you speak to others about the judgment of God, namely that God prefers people to turn and have life, not wanting anyone to perish (2Pe 3:9).