Biblical Unity Ministries

 

Ten Reasons For Book/Chapter/Verse by Verse Preaching in the Main Worship Service

 

As I continue the "Ten Reasons" series, I want to share the reason for this format. Many in our culture today don’t have time to read long articles, papers, and books. My goal is to bring up issues that are important to the body of Christ in a format that is short and easy to read, yet with enough depth to clearly lay the issues before believers – and with the intention of provoking further study.

Expository preaching is indeed one of these important topics. In recent decades many pastors have moved away from expository teaching to topical sermons, though in the last several years we have begun to see a slow return to expository preaching in some churches.

This article is not only aimed at those elders who preach the word of God in local churches around the world, but to Christians in the local church - to help them hold their pastors accountable to solid biblical exposition of the scripture.

1. Studying God’s word verse by verse helps prevent us from skipping over wonderful "nuggets of truth" that are often missed with topical teaching (and even with textual & series preaching).

2. Verse by verse preaching may help guard against following any denominational or church beliefs that may be contrary to the word of God.

3. It helps us to be "Bereans" (Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:11), and reduces the likelihood of interpreting scripture verses out of context.

4. It is the best way to proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Studying through a book of the Bible one verse at time we won’t miss truths. Topical preaching can and often does leave entire subjects untouched.

5. It makes it easier for the pastor to decide what to preach on each Sunday. I question the validity of the "extra biblical revelation" that many pastors claim to get from God on what topic or issue to preach on each week. Maybe some will think I’m trying to leave God out of the preaching process. Actually, I believe I'm following the order that God has revealed to us in His Word.

6. The congregation will know what will be preached most Sundays and can study ahead.

7. It can keep the pastor out of trouble. It cannot be said that he is choosing a topic based on a discussion with one or more members that were having problems.

8. It can help prevent pastors from preaching on their favorite or pet doctrines too often, and help keep them out of trouble with the congregation by focusing on the same issue or doctrine too much. When sin issues come up in the text, we preach on it. When it is baptism, we preach on it. If it is election and predestination, we preach on it. Or it may be church discipline and accountability, the role of women in the home and church, etc. I think you get the picture.

9. It helps to "biblically" weed out many of the tares/goats that visit or attend (maybe even members of the local church). So many that call themselves Christians in our culture today, who say they love the word of God, really want their ears scratched (and they try to accumulate teachers who will do that 2Tim.4: 1-3). Those who are Christ’s sheep should be content in worshipping the Lord through book/chapter/verse by verse expository preaching. Those professing Christians that won’t (or can’t) are in dangerous territory, and may very well be proving that they are not of Christ’s sheep (See John 10). If they are not Christians when they first come, but God is pleased to regenerate them, they will develop a deep love for the Word of God.

10. Jesus said that in searching the scriptures we will find that they testify of Him (Jn.5:39). It seems to me that the best way (and perhaps the only way) to see all that the Bible has to say about Christ is to proclaim the Word of God verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and book by book - all to the glory of God! For if we believe that all the scripture from Gen. 1 through Rev. 22 is the Word of God and that the very order of the letters and writings were also ordered by the Lord, who are we to change that order and decide what portions of the Bible we will proclaim? We may have to decide when and what order the books of the Bible are proclaimed. But I’m concerned with those scriptures that may never get covered because of topical or textual preaching or because of the fear that a scripture may not line up with the denominations, association’s, fellowship’s or church’s creed or statement of faith.

I’m not trying to judge the motives of those pastors who preach the word of God topically. I know that there are some good topical preachers out there that could put me to shame. It may just come down to why a pastor doesn’t preach the word of God verse by verse. Could it be the fear of losing or not getting people? Could it be the concern that tithes and offerings may not be as high? Is book/chapter/verse by verse expository preaching seen as not as sufficiently entertaining or perhaps as too offensive? Is preaching the Word of God seen as not enough to save God’s people anymore? I don’t know that many pastors would say this consciously, but I do wonder how many deep down believe this. I am not a perfect pastor, and Biblical Unity Ministries is not a perfect ministry. We’re not inherently any better than those who don’t preach book/chapter/ verse by verse in the Sunday morning service. And I’m not saying that I or others can’t make errors with this method. But, that reality doesn’t justify not preaching expositorally, anymore than our imperfection would justify not disciplining sin in the church or allowing a false gospel to be proclaimed from the pulpit.

Fellow pastors and elders, let’s preach the word…all of God’s word. For indeed, God’s Word will not return empty to Him without accomplishing what He desires and succeeding for which He sent it (Is. 55:11). Christians, encourage your pastors and hold them accountable. If they are not preaching the whole gospel, and refuse to get into the word of God (regardless of the method), then find a church that will. Today, there are fewer churches proclaiming the whole counsel of God. But there are some - it is worth your time to find one.

It is my prayerful hope that the Lord will use this article to get His people thinking about the importance of verse by verse expository preaching.

 

Bret Lovitz, Pastor/Elder

Biblical Unity Ministries