The Task Of Preaching The Bible

Imagine many years ahead (though not a certainty) and a Bible to find messages to preach three times a week. Several times I have heard pastors say that one of the biggest problems is always coming up with ideas to preach on. They say they really struggle with new sermons.

I have a different problem. So much so, that even the title of this post is misleading. I am sitting on my back deck, in near perfect temperatures, thinking about what I am going to preach on. You see I am soon to get my new building to make into a study and then I can bring all my books to South Carolina. (Thank you Jesus!) So, I now am thinking of which books of the Bible to preach through. I am overwhelmed!

Am I going to tackle Colossians, Philippians, or I Peter? Or what about the Minor Prophets I really have been thinking through? I have really had my eye on Micah, is that the one? Then I have always wanted to preach Ecclesiastes, and actually Nehemiah. There would be I Kings, but I Samuel really beckons.

Then there are the books I have preached through in the past that I would like another shot at. The craft of making my sermons, such as they are, is likely, for the better or the worse, fully developed. I would love to work through those books again in any event!

No doubt it is hard work, though I must confess that perhaps my sermon preparation methods are more cumbersome than most. But I relish the work as the most pleasant I have ever known!

There are texts to flesh out all over the Bible for textual sermons on Sunday morning, then all those books of the Bible to develop into a series of expository messages–not that running commentary thing that some do, but take it by natural units ands make a fully developed sermon. Notice I did not mention topical messages as even the best preachers, whoever they are, are really blessed if they can have even 30 great topical messages in one lifetime. ( I’d be lucky to have 3) No, I am speaking of this matter of preaching His Word. That privilege of being aided by the Holy Spirit to inject a little creativity into sharing only what is His Word–that task is one of ceaseless joy.

Overwhelmed? You bet! I will never live to get the whole thing preached! I will not have to scramble to find something to preach on, but be ever chasing the elusive dream of preaching every text. There is no hope of making it. But what a rich life to be called to preach and try.

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13 thoughts on “The Task Of Preaching The Bible

  1. I like your style–very much like mine. Not just running commentary, but finding the whole, and how every part fits into the whole, and breaking it down into sermon units that fill in the puzzle piece by piece. That kind of preparation is also quite enjoyable (if not head-deskingly frustrating sometimes) 😉

    But for your current quandary, I’d start at the beginning, and systematically work your way outward. You are in a new church, and don’t know their current situation. I’d start with the Gospel(s), and then, work from there. Where you go from there, I guess, would depend on how the people respond, but again, my perspective is that so few people really understand God’s plan for ekklesia/church that I’d cover Acts and the epistles next… Maybe toss in some of the Law, etc. Or, better, cover those things on Sunday evening and Wednesdays. If you can engage their imagination, you should have good crowds for all there–and make the sermons easily available online for those who can’t be there. 🙂

    But those are just my thoughts as I think about what I’d do in a comparable situation.

    In any case, congratulations for the new “dilemma” you find yourself in. Praying God will allow you to be a blessing, and that you will be blessed in turn.

      • Good question… I graduated in 89, and started preaching regularly in our church right after, started deputation in 92, but really started what I call preaching in 97, when we started our church-planting work here. It was in the local language, of course. I sat under our pastor, though, who preached expositorily [sic], in the way you described, though, so when I started, and realized that the folks here, starting from nothing, needed a methodical and systematic style of preaching, it was obvious to me how to go about it. I sat down, and actually wrote out a multi-year plan for how to go through the Gospels and epistles in a way that would be most beneficial, both to understanding God’s Word as a whole, but to also teach the people how they could study God’s Word on their own–basically teach them how to read the Bible and study it on their own. So, I guess it was around 98, or maybe 99 that I first put my plan into practice. We had a false-start, as we moved locations twice, and eventually had to start over, but the bright side of that was that by then I understood my task better, and was able to improve upon what I had done. 😉

    • I appreciate the heart of you both to teach/expose the Word… “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine…”

      It seems evident that you both realize it’s not about bringing people in to get them saved, but preparing and equipping the saints to go out, ready to give an answer for the hope within, not only as evangelists/missionaries but also as apologists.

      • Rene, that is the task as given in Matt 28:19 and Eph 4:11-15, after all… 🙂

        As I understand biology, and read the Bible, sheep produce more sheep, not shepherds. Though as pastors, we are also sheep, but the understanding is that the pastor’s particular task is not soul-winning, but equipping the saints. Part of that is equipping them so they can go out and win them. 🙂 Read Acts 8:1 and 4, and notice who was _not_ scattered abroad. Almost every time I’ve pointed that out to congregations, it has been an eye-opener to them. 🙂 But I’m preaching… Sorry, bro. Reagan. 😉

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