Preacher, Don’t Just Teach the Bible. Do This Instead!

Preacher, Don't Just Teach the Bible. Do This Instead!

You and I have heard sermons that taught a lot of Bible, but the message was missing something.

It felt like more of a running commentary than a soul-stirring message meant to draw you near to the Lord.

It seemed like the Bible was simply something to study, like a scholarly article in a scholarly journal that you’ve never thought about reading yourself, but you wandered your way into a lecture on the topic.

That’s not how you feel about God’s word. But that’s how the sermon made you feel about what the preacher was saying.

So, fellow pastor, don’t just teach the Bible.

Do This Instead

Communicate the Bible.

Think about it. What is teaching concerned with?

Teaching the Bible is concerned with creating understanding of the text. And that is a vital thing to do, right? But I would argue that it is incomplete. It’s not enough.

Communicating the Bible, though, is concerned with creating understanding of the text, connection to life, and urgency for application.

Here’s another distinction: teaching is primarily about the Bible. And how can you go against that? It sounds right. It feels right. To advocate for anything else feels heretical.

But, walk with me here. Teaching is primarily about the Bible whereas communicating is about the intersection of God’s word and our worlds.

Communicating requires that we not only exegete the text but that we also exegete the people.

What are they struggling with? What are the barriers keeping them from believing God and obeying him? What other competing narratives are they being bombarded with on a daily basis?

Answering those questions takes work. A lot of work.

Because communicating the Bible requires far more prep than just teaching the Bible does.

That’s because communicating the Bible requires that we teach the Bible and connect the Bible to people’s lives.

Communicating the Bible requires that we teach the Bible and connect it to people’s lives.

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Questions for Communicating the Bible Better

If you’re with me on this and you agree that we need to not just teach the Bible but communicate the Bible, consider these questions:

  1. What kind of fears, struggles, worries, hopes, desires, and needs are present or does this passage speak to?
  2. What is at the heart of this passage and God’s hope for those who hear the message?
  3. How have I struggled with the things this passage speaks to?
  4. How does this passage give me hope?
  5. How would different people in different stages of life and people who have different backgrounds connect with this passage?
  6. What does application look like?
  7. What are the barriers to application people will come against?
  8. How can I ask more questions and give a voice to my listener’s hesitations and objections?
  9. How can I connect the hope of the gospel to their fears, hopes, dreams, insecurities, needs?
  10. What one truth can I communicate that would stick in their mind, heart, and soul?
  11. If they apply this passage to their lives and obey God in this, what could their future look like?

Do you see how this goes far beyond exegeting the text and forces us to wrestle with how to best share the biblical text in such a way that it connects with people’s hearts and minds?

Teaching is primarily about the Bible whereas communicating is about the intersection of God’s word and our worlds.

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When Your Preaching Connects

You and I know the impact that powerful preaching can have on someone’s life. We’ve seen it before and we’ve experienced it ourselves.

When your preaching connects, that life-changing truth from the Lord – by the power of the Holy Spirit – can seep deep into your hearer’s heart.

Think about any meaningful message you’ve heard in your life.

What did it do?

Among many things, it connected to your life.

You can do the same for your people. Every. Single. Time. You. Preach.

It just takes a lot of prayer, some deep sermon work, and a passionate delivery.

More Help for Writing a Sticky Sermon

If you want to be faithful to the text, prepare efficiently, and craft your sermon memorably, I’ve got just the thing to help. It’s called the 10-step guide to writing a sticky sermon and it’s yours for free. Just click here to grab your copy.

10-Step Guide to Writing a Sticky Sermon

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.

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