Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Preaching the Bible on its Own Terms

George Müller is well known as the founder and director of several orphanages. But did you know that his primary job was to serve as the preaching Pastor of Bethesda Chapel in Bristol, England. As Pastor George read and preached the Bible year after year, he developed the conviction that it should be read and preached from beginning to end over the life of a church. He gives five reasons why this approach is good, right, and God-exalting (from the Autobiography of George Müller, Westminster Literature, page 22).

First, reading and preaching the whole Bible throws light upon critical connections between various parts and doctrines, while failing to do so makes “it utterly impossible to ever to understand much of the Scriptures.” Please think about this. If we don’t understand the whole, we cannot understand the parts. This is a critical truth, and one that is getting lost in our evangelical zeal to grow churches.

Second, while we remain in the flesh, we need variety to hold our attention and to integrate the things of God into our lives. The Scripture provides much variety which, over time, meets the needs of the seeking soul. However, the church that contents itself with only certain portions of Scripture will soon become bored and stagnate in faith.

Third, reading and preaching the whole of Scripture “tends to the glory of God, for leaving out some chapters here and there is practically saying that certain portions are better than others or that there are certain parts of revealed truth [that are] unprofitable or unnecessary.” While we may affirm with our mouths and statements that all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for life in Christ (2 Timothy 3:16), we can unwittingly deny this important fact in our personal and corporate practices. The primary way a church can honor the whole Word of God in the life of the church is to read and preach the whole word of God in the prominent worship services of the church.

Fourth, reading and preaching the whole of Scripture keeps us from erroneous views because it leads us to see the Scripture as a whole and to interpret specific parts in light of the whole. It adds context, tempered insight, and proper balance. It disciplines the preacher and people alike to read, understand, and apply the Word on God’s terms rather than ours.

Fifth, the “Scriptures contain the whole revealed will of God, and therefore we ought to seek to read from time to time through the whole of that revealed will. There are many believers, I fear, in our day, who have not read even once through the whole of the Scriptures, and yet in a few months, by reading only a few chapters every day, they might accomplish it.” And preaching through the whole Word inspires people to read through the whole Word. May the Lord bless us as we seek to savor the whole of the Scriptures!

No comments:

Post a Comment