At Greenville Community Church, we leverage both topical series and longer walks through books of the Bible. The bulk of our teaching is grounded in navigating through books of the Bible. After 3 years of this being the bulk of our teaching, I can honestly say it’s my favorite way to teach on a week-to-week basis. Let me give you an example. This week I was assigned a text (1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ESV) that I would have avoided if I had not been assigned the text. I stumbled into so many insights I had always missed in the text. It’s shocking how much God seems to use the text when we leverage it as the basis of our preaching rather than the pressure of creating self-driven messages that are cool but exhausting to create.
Let me share 4 practical reasons I think it’s wise to teach through books of the Bible in your ministry setting…
- The spotlight is shifted off of the speaker and onto Scripture. // It’s not really about you anyway. Your people need more of Jesus and less of you. Pushing yourself to be text-centric in your preaching will help ensure you make less of yourself.
- We get to address issues we would normally avoid. // You know you avoid certain topics in the Bible. Teaching through entire books of the Bible pushes you to teach the whole counsel of Scripture rather than your favorite topics. When you have to teach on a difficult issue you grow and you handle it with open hands and grace. Your congregations are asking the questions the Bible wants to speak to.
- We help people learn how to explore the Biblical text rather than just listening to our favorite speakers. // There is no reason the Bible should ever be boring. If it’s boring, it’s totally on the speaker and not the text. Listening to a message and engaging is more about listening and learning than entertainment. Something entertaining or emotional is not always true. We have to help frame our congregation’s expectations when engaging the Scriptures.
- The Holy Spirit has the chance to work in the speaker as much as the congregation. // When you have to lean into a text, discern its central meaning, understand its context, and search for real-life application, the Holy Spirit is going to work in the speaker as much as the crowd. There is a dependence that comes only from having to depend on the Holy Spirit to reveal why the Scriptures say what they say.