This Sunday, we kick of a study of Philippians. Four chapters. 104 verses. And I can't wait.
Some have asked along the way why we as a church and I as a pastor preach through books of the Bible. Good question. A couple of brief reflections follow.
First, preaching through books of the Bible make us understand the entire message of a particular book of the Bible. Granted, you may not walk away ready to write a commentary on the main theme of Philippians, but you have a grasp of it.
Second, preaching through books of the Bible has a glorious by-product of helping people learn to study their own Bibles.
Third, preaching through books of the Bible makes sure that I, as a pastor, don't skip the hard passages. One time I was preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. Pearls. Pigs. Wouldn't have gone there if it wasn't next in the text. The fact that a text is upcoming is secondary courage for me - if I don't have the courage preach it, I have to preach it anyway.
Lastly, I believe that every word in the Bible is inspired and preaching through books (or at least significant portions like the Sermon on the Mount) takes that pretty seriously because, over the course of a lifetime of ministry, you should have engaged with the whole counsel of God and taught it to His people.
One objection arises: but didn't I just preach a series of mini-series on different topics? You bet. I didn't say that I felt like I only had to preach through books of the Bible. But I want that to continue to be a hallmark of the ministry that God gives me for as long as He allows me to preach.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...