Preaching a whole Bible Book in one Sermon


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?

  1. People don’t know the sweep of the story of scripture
  2. Teaching scripture atomistically has become the norm
  3. Its easier to twist a micro-chunk of scripture than a whole book
  4. Sometimes you have to step back to see the beauty
  5. 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

  1. Make a case for why this book matters – we always have a mix of Christians and faith explorers each Sunday…
  2. Help the congregation to review the story so far…
  3. Present a simple overview of the book you are teaching…
  4. 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
  5. Don’t try to say too much – K.I.S.S.

3. Things to avoid when preaching

  1. Sermon turning into a regurgitated commentary / mini lectureForgetting the pastoral and evangelistic needs of the congregation
  2. Making the interactivity in the sermon inaccessible to new and not yet Christians
  3. Turning every book of the Bible into a character study
  4. Preaching the book either allegorically or in a way that forgets Christ fulfils the Old Testament
  5. Assuming the congregation know the book as well as you do now

4. House groups

  1. Take the opportunity to review / remind the congregation of the big story of the Bible.
  2. Explore fresh insights members gleaned from reading the book / hearing the sermon.
  3. Ask preachers to provide a couple of thematic question that explores a major theme in the book:
  4. Spend time thinking through the pastoral needs of your group and explore ways to connect them with the dominant themes of the book
  5. 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…”



3 thoughts on “Preaching a whole Bible Book in one Sermon

  1. Philip Barringer says:

    Great idea. We so often ignore or are highly selective in our use of OT. The big picture is so important in understanding Jesus because so much of what he did and said has its roots in OT. I preached on book of Job in a single sermon and got don much out of seeing the story as a whole rather than getting bogged down in the detail. Folks in the congregation who were going through all sorts if suffering found hope and encouragement in God who both ‘transcends’ and is ‘in the midst’ of our experiences and declare with Job “I know my redeemed lives and in the end he will stand upon the earth.”
    I pray that God will bless the series with much fruit.

  2. George Campbell says:

    Thanks Krish

    These thoughts are helpful and encouraging. At Bellevue Chapel in Edinburgh we are trying to do something similar; at the moment we are working through a series where we look at one of the Minor
    Prophets each week. The challenge and encouragement of Haggai was particularly powerful. Anyway, I wondered if you have a series outline of the 12 book study that you would be willing to share?


    1. krishkandiah says:

      Thanks George – your series sounds excellent – will try and dig out some notes from our last sermon series to share with you.

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