WHY I PREACH THROUGH BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
a note from Pastor Adam
As we recently began a series through the book of James, I thought it might be helpful to explain why I preach through books of the Bible. This is not a new form of preaching; but one that has been tried and proven as a marker throughout church history of those churches that love the Bible and are filled with spiritually mature believers.
When we talk about preaching through books of the Bible, this is what some people call expositional preaching. The word exposition means to lift out of the text the meaning of the original author in their given context and transfer the divine truths across time to find what they mean for us today. We need to find out the true meaning of what the bible teaches and learn how we’re to respond to it today.
Expositional preaching isn’t limited to studies through books, but it most useful in that style of preaching because it takes the whole book into account and helps those who hear it understand it in a progressive way. Furthermore, expositional preaching allows the hearers to understand the big picture of not only the book, but the bible.
Truth be told, when you do your own personal bible study you’re to do it in an expositional way. You’re trying to find out what the bible meant when it was written. You take into account all of the context, cultural implications, and things going on during that time and those things help you to understand the bible more clearly.
*So, I want to give you 5 reasons of why I preach through books of the bible. I could probably think harder and give you 30-40 reasons but I just want to help us understand the benefit of preaching through books of the bible and how our church family should view it…
1. THE BIBLE IS GOD’S AUTHORITY
As I mentioned before, a lot of people gathering in rooms and calling themselves a church doesn’t necessarily make them a church; and because a preacher says he preaches from the Bible doesn’t really mean he’s truly preaching from the Bible.
When we walk through books of the bible there is no avoiding the fact that the Bible means what it says. Anyone can look at a sentence or a few verses and make it mean whatever they want it to. But if we have to deal with the text and the context of scripture, we have no choice but to believe that this is what God says. The authority of any person teaching from the Bible lies not in who he is or what the current trends of pragmatic church growth may indicate, but in the authority of the Author of the Bible itself – God.
Here at our church we will submit to the authority of the Word of God – not human tradition, not clever ideas, not recent statistics about what works, it’s the word of God alone that guides and directs us individually and collectively. In order for me to put you in the best position to hear from God, I need to get out of the way and simply unleash the word of God.
2. TO PREACH THE FULL COUNSEL OF GOD
I have to be honest with you, I’ve never woken up on a Monday morning and opened my bible and turned to a passage on divorce or some difficult text to explain, and thought – that’s what I’ll preach! By preaching through books of the bible, any preacher or bible teacher is forced to preach the tough topics and difficult text. If a pastor of a church bases the most important ministry of the church on the felt needs of people – Christ won’t be proclaimed. Felt needs preaching may address the questions of carnal hearers but never introduces them to the Savior and the One who fulfills their needs and is the answer to all of their questions.
· 2 Tim. 3:16 “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (Christian teaching), reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.”
Because most preachers and Bible teachers do not wake up and try to figure out which or their 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 people need to hear – even if they did where would they start? Are they going to try to discern on a week by week basis whether brother so-and-so needs to hear how to straighten out his boy who got arrested last week or how one should minister to sister so-and-so who just found out she has cancer and needs a word of encouragement? Those are important things and should be understood biblically, but that’s impossible.
What this basically means is that we believe in the sufficiency of scripture. We believe that God was sovereign over the writing of the Bible, the preservation of the Bible, and every word of the Bible benefits us because it tells us about God and how we’re to live.
3. TO GIVE US CHURCH DIRECTION
I must be honest and tell you that a reason I like preaching through books of the bible is because I’m a type A personality. I like structure and I like having a plan. This helps, because the last thing anyone wants is a pastor coming in a Monday morning trying to figure out what he’s going to preach on Sunday. This is not to suggest that God cannot change or give new direction before or during a sermon. But to act like it’s wise or more spiritual to get up on a Sunday and just let it rip is not good faithful preaching. It’s not that the Holy Spirit isn’t alive during the preaching of a scheduled and studied text, it’s that those who do that understand that the same Spirit is with them in the study early in the week. The most loving thing a pastor can do for his church is to labor over and preach the word of God to them.
· 2 Tim. 4:2 “preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
4. TO GROW US ALL AS STUDENTS OF THE BIBLE
The early church in large part did not have access to what we commonly think of as our Bible - particularly the New Testament as the letters and just began to circulate. In fact, the Bible as we know didn’t exist until about 400 years after Jesus rose from the grave. The letters from the apostles and the gospels would be written and sent around the world, copied, and eventually put together into what we now call the canon of scripture or the bible. That said, we must view it as a high privilege to have ready access to the Word of God. Brothers and sisters who follow Christ in other nations and throughout previous eras of the Christian church would do anything to be able to do what we can on a weekly basis as we look to the Bible to hear from God. We must be faithful students of the Bible.
5. THE ENTIRE BIBLE POINTS TO JESUS
see Luke 24:2
What we see in this passage is that Jesus Himself says that the entire Bible points to Him and to His gospel. Everything in the bible is either leading up to the cross or pointing us back and reminding us of the cross.
· Jesus was present at Creation
· The gospel proclaimed in Gen.3:15 after the fall
· The ark points to the saving power of Christ for God’s chosen people who believe.
· The promise to Abraham points to an everlasting covenant
· The major characters of the O.T. are signs of what’s to come
· The prophets spoke of a coming King and messiah
The entire bible points to Jesus. Jesus and His gospel is the greatest thing the mind can think on and by walking through books of the bible we get a panoramic view of the Christ of scripture.
Jesus is on every page of scripture!