I’m a Cheater

Well, it’s confirmed, I’m a cheater.

I was shocked. I mean, I try to do my job with sincerity and integrity, but it looks like, to at least one prominent preacher, how I do my job makes me a cheater.

This came up recently on a blog from a rather famous US preacher. Don’t worry about WHO,I am not attacking or criticizing him. Everyone has their thing, everyone has an opinion. My point isn’t about who it is or fighting back – I am just evaluating this opinion because it applies directly to me. Specifically, my commitment to expository, verse-by-verse preaching. Here is an excerpt from the blog:

Question: What do you think about preaching verse-by-verse messages through books of the Bible?

>Famous Preacher<: Guys that preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible-- that is just cheating. It's cheating because that would be easy, first of all. That isn't how you grow people. No one in the Scripture modeled that. There's not one example of that.

Eh, I’m not really convinced that I am cheating. And I am not going to change what I do. Here are 6 Reasons I Believe in Verse-By-Verse Expository Preaching:

  1. Preaching verse-by-verse lets me preach like Paul, declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). The only way to get the whole counsel of the Word is to preach through all of the Word as it presents itself. The Bible is written in books, with themes and ideas. And the only way to catch the totality of these themes is to work through the texts as they were written.
  2. Preaching verse-by-verse keeps me from just preaching my favorite things. I think it would be easy to pick what I want to preach. Mercy, grace, love – and while these are important doctrines, they aren’t everything the Bible has to say. Which leads me to...
  3. Preaching verse-by-verse makes me preach on things I would otherwise avoid. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about hell or judgment or sin – and I wouldn’t seek these themes out if I just preached on what I prefer. But they are there, and verse-by-verse preaching makes me deal with them – and God has them in His Word because He wants them dealt with!
  4. Preaching verse-by-verse makes me avoid taking things out of context. I don’t want to misrepresent God, and it’s easy to make the Bible say what I want it to say – or misunderstand what it actually says – if I just rip a passage out of its context and preach on it.
  5. Preaching verse-by-verse helps me have a plan about where we are heading as a church. I let the Word of God guide us as a church rather than use the Word for some man-centered agenda. I can only do that if I walk through a passage and let the Word speak for itself! And most importantly...
  6. Preaching verse-by-verse helps people become better Bible students for themselves. What confidence do people have to read the Bible for themselves if they look at it like a buffet we walk through and pick out what we want? It wasn’t written that way and it should not be read that was. Going verse-by-verse gives people confidence to walk through the Bible themselves. They can do at home what I model in church Sunday mornings. Let’s walk through this passage. What does it say? What does it mean? What does it mean in light of what was said in the last passage? How can I apply this truth?

So I have to respectfully disagree with this preacher. Let’s be committed to be not just Bible respecters, or Bible fans... but Bible students.

p.s. - not a cheater... and not cheating my people