“I’m just one beggar telling another beggar where I found bread.”
As a seminary student, I was assigned a book on preaching called Building Sermons to Meet People’s Needs. This book has taught me so much about how to plan my preaching throughout the year. When I’m planning my preaching, whether I’m planning to look at a New or Old Testament book, or do something more theological, it’s based on the needs I see in the church calendar. It’s based on the needs of the people I serve—out of a desire to shepherd and love them for Jesus.
I know this idea might be unpopular with some, just as I know there are some who believe that expository preaching is the only biblical way to preach. And I respect that. I just don’t believe it to be the case. I do believe in rooting everything I preach in Scripture, but I don’t believe we need to necessarily go through a text verse-by-verse, week-by-week, until you come to the end of a book. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but I don’t think we can say we must do it this way. Why? For a couple of reasons.
First, because we don’t see it in the Bible. You would think that if there was anyone who would take this approach, it would be someone like Paul; but he doesn’t. The lack of evidence of an early practice of verse-by-verse exposition makes it hard for me to say it’s the only way to preach.
Second, because I don’t believe most people really care if it’s truly verse-by-verse or not. I don’t know what your church is like, but at mine and probably any church in the deep south, I can safely guarantee that during football season, there will be people who are only attending every third Sunday. So, it doesn’t really matter to them if we were in Ephesians 1:1 …