Why should a pastor preach through whole books of the Bible?

I am currently preaching through 2 Samuel.  Having just preached through 2 Samuel 11-13 these last 3 weeks, I was reminded of the challenge it is to systematically preach through whole books of the Bible.  And yet, in the midst of being reminded of these challenges, the reasons to continue to do so have been affirmed to me all over again.  Here are 3 of them:

1) You cannot avoid the hard passages.  2 weeks ago I preached on David’s adultery and murder.  Yesterday, it moved to an interesting progression of rape, incest, and murder among David’s children.  Let’s just say not what I would choose to preach if I was just picking a passage for the week.  But our people need to hear these passages and we as pastors need to wrestle with them to figure out what God desires for us to learn from them.  Preach the hard passages.  If your congregation sees you are not afraid to wrestle with them, then they are certain to grow less afraid also.

2) You understand the author’s intent better.  It amazes me how much better I feel I understand the writer’s intent, because I have preached through the natural flow of his argument or narrative.  I linked David’s adultery back to David’s acceptance of a second wife in 1 Samuel.  I did not read that in a commentary, but felt it was relevant as I saw it through the lens of the progression of the narrative as I preached through it.  That is one of many examples of connections within the narrative I have seen that I know I would not have, unless I was pouring over the narrative myself week after week.

3) Our people learn how to read their own Bibles.  Pastors are teaching their people how to approach and understand their Bibles by whatever the steady, weekly preaching diet is in their church.  When we commit ourselves to preaching through books of the Bible to understand and deal with all its content, we are teaching our people to do the same on their own.

I am not at all against topical preaching.  There is a place for it.  But allow me to push a bit on what the steady diet of your congregation is and what the fruit of that diet is within it.  Your people should be growing in their love and knowledge of God’s Word.  They should be learning how to better read their own Bibles.  As I experienced yesterday, they should be growing less afraid of the hard, difficult passages nobody would choose to preach.

So are they?

Posted in Preaching
3 comments on “Why should a pastor preach through whole books of the Bible?
  1. Eddy Barnes says:

    Agreed. All these make preaching through books a worthwhile goal. As a side note, do you structure your sermons through a series based on the book?

    Just curious. As a youth pastor, I want to teach our teens to read the Bible, but generally have been told I need to stay away from series over 4-6 weeks.

  2. Steve Martin says:

    I’m not so sure.

    I think I’d prefer a preacher to touch on all parts of the Bible, but to concentrate more on the gospel.

    I say that because St. Paul tells us in Romans 1:16 that “the gospel is the power of God for salvation…”.

    I’d spend 80% on the Gospels, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, 1&2 Corinthians, etc.. and divide up the remaining 20%. Give or take.

  3. g says:

    I believe that any pastor/teacher is neglecting his responsibilities if he is failing to instruct the people in “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). God has given us all 66 books for our instruction and edification (2 Tim 3:16-17). “ALL Scripture” means the whole thing.
    That doesn’t mean every chapter & verse (or even book) holds the same weight. But it all DOES need to be taught. My first experience with the value of every part of the Scriptures began with David Hocking teaching through Genesis & Exodus, one chapter each week, and being built up in the faith every week (including through often ignored passages like Genesis 36).
    At our church, I usually teach NT on Sunday mornings and OT (usually) at the mid-week study. Sometimes that mid-week will cover several chapters. Other times it’s just a verse or two.
    I’ve always liked Chuck Smith’s method where his Sunday evening study is a running commentary (usually a chapter each week, but sometimes more), and the Sunday morning message comes from a short passage within the section he will cover in the evening.

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