Our church is teaching through 12 key books of the Old Testament this term. Here are the notes that I prepared for our preachers and house group leaders. I thought they might be useful to help more of us to explore preaching whole books at a time as part of a varied diet of Bible teaching:
1. Why Preach whole books?
- People don’t know the sweep of the story of scripture
- Teaching scripture atomistically has become the norm
- Its easier to twist a micro-chunk of scripture than a whole book
- Sometimes you have to step back to see the beauty
- Even in a long term preaching ministry it is unlikely that you will cover every book of the Bible
2. How to preach whole books
- Make a case for why this book matters – we always have a mix of Christians and faith explorers each Sunday…
- Help the congregation to review the story so far…
- Present a simple overview of the book you are teaching…
- Make a link to an aspect of Christ’s life and work – your sermon should be a “Christian one” – we know how Christ fulfils the Old Testament
- Don’t try to say too much – K.I.S.S.
3. Things to avoid when preaching
- Sermon turning into a regurgitated commentary / mini lectureForgetting the pastoral and evangelistic needs of the congregation
- Making the interactivity in the sermon inaccessible to new and not yet Christians
- Turning every book of the Bible into a character study
- Preaching the book either allegorically or in a way that forgets Christ fulfils the Old Testament
- Assuming the congregation know the book as well as you do now
4. House groups
- Take the opportunity to review / remind the congregation of the big story of the Bible.
- Explore fresh insights members gleaned from reading the book / hearing the sermon.
- Ask preachers to provide a couple of thematic question that explores a major theme in the book:
- Spend time thinking through the pastoral needs of your group and explore ways to connect them with the dominant themes of the book
- When you pray ask members to use insights gleaned from the book to inform the way you pray:
“Creator God – we ask …”
“God of Exodus rescue – we praise…”