Open Blogging

You may also like...

103 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Below is a short excerpt from an article I read this week, which looks at the nature and purpose of the Scriptures. I think it’s a very timely issue and might make for some good discussion here.

    “The Scriptures are, to use the words of Oswald Bayer, the breathing space of the Holy Spirit. Not only did the Spirit breathe his words through the prophets and apostles, but he continues to breathe in and through the Scriptures so that faith in Christ Jesus is created and sustained. In contrast to Schleiermacher, who described the Holy Scriptures as a ‘mausoleum of religion, a monument to a great spirit once there but no longer,’ Luther understood the Scriptures as the living and life-giving word of God, the dwelling place of the Spirit.

    There was a shift in 1758 when Johann Salmo Semler (1725–1791) denounced Luther’s use of oratio, meditatio, and tentatio as unscientific and antiquated monastic theology that must be replaced by what he claimed as a historical reading of the Scriptures. Semler forgot that ‘the exegesis of Holy Scripture cannot contradict their inspiration.’ Now Scriptures are to be read and mastered without prayer and meditation. They are also rendered as ineffective weapons in the face of spiritual attack. Studied this way, they can no longer be proclaimed as words of Spirit and life. Sermons become commentaries on the text rather than proclamation of the text, occasions for the edification of religious consciousness or fortification in morality.”

    If anyone wants the entire article, I can work through Michael to get it to you.

  2. Michael says:

    “Sermons become commentaries on the text rather than proclamation of the text, occasions for the edification of religious consciousness or fortification in morality.”

    I spent too many years doing that and I regret it deeply…

  3. Dallas says:

    Mucking around in one of my favorite neighborhoods in scripture in…

    Gratifying the Flesh Eating Monster

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Great post Jean,
    For years I have been trying to tell my verse by verse friends that verse by verse should be reserved for the classroom (as I do) – and the Sunday pulpit must be reserved for the actual proclamation of as you quoted Luther above – “the Scriptures as the living and life-giving word of God, the dwelling place of the Spirit.” and I might add ‘to me and for me.” (as my pastor does).

  5. Michael says:


    I think you’re right…I wish I had learned that much earlier in my preaching life.

  6. Jean says:


    Keep on doing that (@#4), using different angles and examples. It gets through to a lot of us.

    And when we’re passing through the valley of death, the life-givingness of the Word is the only thing left that will be of any help. The sooner we find that, the better.

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We need to remember that verse by verse Sunday preaching pretty much began for the Jesus Movement and the type of Pop American Christianity that grew out of that – when Chuck Smith by his own words said that he had no inspiration from the Holy Spirit to produce a sermon that delivered the gospel. He said he had run out of sermons and found verse by verse teaching (note the difference from preaching and proclamation) – so he took the easier road as you do not need the inspiration – just the next 15 verses from where you left off last Sunday.

    Verse by verse (and I think what the quote above is saying about the historical view) will take you to “this is what Paul said to the Church in Rome.” But is that why I go to divine service on Sunday? or do I want to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to me?

  8. Owen says:


    Thanks for you post, I needed it this morning. I’ve been dealing with a very legalistic person for the past little while , very much a “letter of the law” person without any measure of grace or spirit. So I thank you for the reminder, and the refreshing of our belief that the Word of God is, indeed, alive.

  9. Owen says:


    I’m going to be just a little bold here, and may get rebuked. But my thought is, if a preacher says he has no inspiration from the Spirit to produce a sermon, then he probably shouldn’t be up there doing it, until inspiration returns to him.
    Just my opinion.

  10. Dallas says:

    I used to say that my former pastor was a wonderful teacher, if he had set up a Christian education program, I would have signed up for every class. He has a passion for teaching that infects those around him that I think is common to all good teachers. His sermons were always good teaching, but occasionally you could tell that the Spirit really got ahold of him in a certain passage and the message was just very different.

    I always thought that he would thrive in more of a teaching role, and I’m not sure I entirely understand what he’s doing now, but it’s encouraging to know that he’s now kicking around in Warren Throckmorton’s neighborhood.

  11. Owen says:


    Good word on your Flesh Eating Monster blog post, I commented there.

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So I throw this out from Reverend Jonathan Fisk;

    “How then can a human body be in bread and wine? The same way he walked on water, healed blindness with his spittle and was born of a virgin.”

    How does the rationalist side of the Christian table answer something like this?

  13. Owen says:

    ….. and the same way He sacrificed Himself for all of us undeserving humans.

    These things are where (IMO) the rationalist argument breaks down, because God does things that do not compute in our brains. There comes a point at which we need to realize that we were never meant to understand everything . As I heard you say a little earlier elsewhere, “I know all that God wants me to know.”

    Oops, my apologies – I guess I’m not answering from the rationalist side of the table……

  14. My blogging for the week had writing out a couple of posts aboutsome “nuts and bolts” thoughts regarding, as well as thinking about the power found in giving up one’s rights.

  15. ^^^ regarding evangelism

  16. Jean says:

    Dallas, you provided an excellent summary of Romans 7 on your blog. I hope everyone checks it out.

  17. Jean says:


    The foolishness of God.

  18. Owen says:


    That’s exactly where I was going. πŸ™‚

  19. Owen says:


    Good post on evangelism on your blog. I commented there, but not sure if it went through….

  20. Dallas says:

    Owen and Jean, thanks for the positive feedback. Appreciate the read.

  21. Em ... again says:

    EACH AND VERY SINGLE session with the late R.B. Thieme began first with a short time of prayer with the reminder to the Believer to confess (privately to God) and prepare your heart to study God’s word – to the unbeliever came the reminder that his issue was not one of naming sins, but one of faith in Christ. – immediately after this the following would, without exception begin each of his teaching sessions – the man’s gift, from my viewpoint, was that of teaching, not one on one pastoring, but i never knew him personally…

    “THE WORD OF GOD is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piecing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and of the joint and marrow, and is a critic of thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)
    “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God might be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
    “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (from second chapter of above cited ref.)

    then, coming from a military background as he did, it was time to sit down, shut up and listen – not from an attitude of arrogance, but rather one of this is the word of God that we’re examining πŸ™‚

    i’m glad the Lutes here have brought this up today, but i have a hunch we still have faithful teachers out there who know and remind their classes that they are handling holy thoughts from a living book… dunno ….. hope so …
    i’m guessing that there are charlatans who try to get leverage with the declaration … dunno … hope not …

  22. Em, you make the point of faithful teachers in the classroom. We were objecting to this being brought into the pulpit instead of law / gospel preaching to the congregation.

  23. Em ... again says:

    well, MLD, we know that we have a lot of differences on the conduct of a church service…

    i was, however, responding to what Jean posted at the top of the thread this a.m. “β€œThe Scriptures are, to use the words of Oswald Bayer, the breathing space of the Holy Spirit. Not only did the Spirit breathe his words through the prophets and apostles, but he continues to breathe in and through the Scriptures so that faith in Christ Jesus is created and sustained……”

    yes, i did throw in the observation that Thieme did maintain a somewhat classroom atmosphere (and always did so in his “seminars”), but you’d have to ask the Houston church if they were unable to worship there…

    if you maintain that there can be no teaching from the pulpit (Sunday mornings, i assume?) – homilies are nice and … well … then you must be a Lutheran? πŸ™‚

  24. CostcoCal says:

    Where would we be without God’s grace?

    Probably at Chavez Ravine.

    Seriously, we’d be a mess. Even worse than we are now.

    “Where else can we go, Lord? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

  25. Surfer51 says:

    Paul hard a much deeper understanding of God’s Word than the scripture by scripture approach.

    Smith originally gave topical Bible studies and than would relocate with in the Four square denomination when he came to the end of his topical stack.

    Then while in Huntington Beach CA he realized that he liked it there and so he came upon the idea of scripture by sequential scripture teaching when he had come to. The end of his topical stack.

    It worked so well for him that he adopted it as his model.

    But when you read how Paul shares about the Word of God you get a whole different understanding.

    Big theological words wouldn’t impress Paul nor would compartmentalizations of positions of thought of great men of God.

    MLD nails it in #7

  26. I go back and forth between topical teachings and what I would call “concept by concept” teaching. For example, I’m about to start a nine week series in Nehemiah. I’ll use the flow of Nehemiah to bring up pertinent topics such as prayer, persistence, leadership, etc. rather than get too deep in the weeds, Yet, I have another goal in mind: that our people would gain a good overview feel of the flow and main message of Nehemiah. Essentially, when the people of our church face challenges or questions, my prayer is that they recall the teachings of God from His Word. Ultimately, I want to see more and more of the Word burned into their brains, impressed upon their hearts and practiced in their lives.

  27. Oh yeah…at the core of it all, I’m with Costco. I’m riding the grace train. If the people of our church don’t grasp the centrality of grace, I’ve failed them.

  28. Owen Wells says:

    “I’m riding the grace train. If the people of our church don’t grasp the centrality of grace, I’ve failed them.”

    Well said. It all has to start there, doesn’t it?

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think verse by verse is a good way to ensure that the pastor doesn’t get stuck on his personal hobby horses.

  30. Dallas says:

    As I mentioned in last week’s Open Blogging, I have been experimenting with some more conversational posts on my blog. Last week was awesome, with some of the best conversation my blog has ever seen, so I’m trying again this weekend as well.

    Batman and Bonhoeffer

  31. Em ... again says:

    speaking from the pews – again – pray for discernment and a scholar because, not going “verse by verse” can result in an awful mish-mash of misapplied texts… perhaps, that is worse than the verse by verse speculation fella, “I think what the author is trying to say here is….” that’s not much better than the home Bible study circle … maybe those canned sermons and homilies have a place on Sunday morning… hmmm πŸ™‚

  32. I see no biblical example of verse by verse preaching. Besides that is not preaching that is teaching. However I do see continual preaching about Jesus and his gospel of salvation to the believer and the unbeliever as both need to hear this when the church gathers.
    As I said yesterday I do not go to the divine service each Sunday to hear what Paul said to the Romans, (that is classroom work) – I go to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to me.

  33. Xenia says:

    St. John Chrysostom (“Golden Mouth”) preached verse by verse. You can find his sermons online. He lived in the 4th century.

  34. Xenia says:

    But in general, I agree with MLD. The Sunday morning Liturgy is not the time to sit in one’s pew with pen and notebook in hand to take down notes from a 45 minute Bible lecture. Save that worthy task for another time. Sunday morning is all about the Gospel and the Eucharist.

  35. Xenia says:

    A liturgical calendar helps prevent hobby horses.

  36. CostcoCal says:

    Isn’t it interesting that Christ, Paul,nor Peter used any of the New Testament or their letters to the Churches to state how a Sunday morning service out to play out. They never gave a catechism nor a liturgy. I wonder why that may be?

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Not so quick on the no order of service etc. – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

    The breaking of bread is communion and note THE prayers – not just any prayers.

    But I agree that people can do ‘church’ anyway they wish.

  38. CostcoCal says:

    Acts 2:42 is very insightful.

    Yet not liturgical for a service.

    It’s interesting how much we as humans would so desire a given service schedule from the Scriptures.

  39. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, did you just contradict yourself on the teaching word? Just asking.

  40. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia and MLD, do your churches use the same liturgical calendar? Also, how often does it repeat? Thanks

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve it’s not about ‘teaching’ – it’s the type of teaching as was pointed out in the post at #1 by Jean.

    Again, if you want to teach me verse by verse what Paul said to the Romans on a Sunday worship service, what good does that do me? Teach me what the Holy Spirit is saying to me and to my church today.

    Teaching me about David numbering his men is a classroom venture – showing me the charts of the numbering of each tribe goes on the wall.

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A good question for me to ask anyone who taught today from the pulpit – was your message about a text or was it about Jesus for your congregation today. Did your congregation hear a clear message that their sins are forgiven? Did they hear that Jesus Christ is for them? Did they receive the body and blood of the Lord (either real in presence or symbolically) as we see in Acts 2 and did you say THE prayers?

  43. Steve Wright says:

    I’m sorry. I thought you made a point contrasting preaching and teaching saying the former was for the worship service and the latter for the classroom. Then you quoted a verse in support of an ancient liturgy that mentioned teaching….so I must have gotten confused.

  44. Em ... again says:

    and what does the law teach me? that i can’t keep the law or that i’m kidding myself if i think that i do? is the gospel the remedy for that fact?

    well, yes, on one level it is, but do i, the unredeemed one, care? probably not… if one is going to make their focus on man’s lost condition and God’s remedy… telling/showing me that i couldn’t keep the law wouldn’t have been any revelation to me … seems to me that evangelizing on Sunday morning would involve the inevitable condemnation of hell and escape from same… but then that’s for tent meetings, charlatans exploiting the gospel and hillbillies, i guess πŸ™‚

    repent and be baptized and move on in the church of your choice … just sayin … and, BTW, if you don’t get time to be baptized – for whatever valid reason – you’re still in IMHO

    i’m in a terrible state of conflict… the LA Rams are back where they belong and just might beat the Seattle Hawks… think i’ll root for the Rams

  45. Steve, perhaps you didn’t have a homeletics class at the school of ministry but preaching does teach. So all preaching also teaches but teaching does not preach.

    The difference is what is being taught – the text or the message of the text?

  46. Jean says:

    This morning in a FB group, someone asked the definition of a sermon. Here is the definition a pastor provided:

    “Generally, any message or address could be termed a sermon. But to be properly a sermon in the Christian sense, it must be a message that declares the forgiveness of sins on account of Christ for the hearer.”

    What do people think of this definition?

  47. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, you can take this or leave it for what it is worth.

    Wallace has 85 pages in his exegetical grammar devoted just to the article. 85 pages on our little word, “the”, that you are making quite a deal over as to its existence in the Greek text in this verse as to prayers.

    It is one of the most challenging aspects to the Greek language.

    Just look up the many uses of the article before prayer(s) in the New Testament..ask why all those uses don’t also say THE prayer(s). It’s in the text, same as in your Acts verse.

    Even half or more major translation committees chose to omit it in this Acts verse. Maybe they are wrong, maybe not.

    Wallace, incidentally, has a note on this verse and the article’s use – and the type of article use here throughout the verse (as you note, it appears multiple times).

    I guess my conclusion is just that if the existence of the article in the text is the end-all, be-all, of interpretation that you seek to build a major point upon – then you need to be consistent (don’t you) in all the appearances it has before prayer(s). Or at least have a very solid exegetical reason when you choose not to (and I did not read any exegetical argument from you on this verse…just THE in caps for emphasis – with your eisegesis flowing from there….

    My two cents.

  48. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t know what to do with your #45 so I will depart now. Preaching and teaching are different words (and ideas) as you yourself said when you said preaching was for the service.

    The apostles were teaching…

    But you are I guess saying they were really preaching, which teaches, and so that is why the word used was teaching in the original text.

    So on the one hand, the text is crucial when it supports THE prayers, but not crucial when the word differs from the point you are making??

    Like I said, I don’t know how to counter that…so I will move on.

  49. Jean says:

    “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23)

    Paul was also explicit in his first letter to the Corinthians, that the Scriptures are given for proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, whether from the OT or NT.

    This is the sacred vocation of the preacher. It is giving sight to the blind and raising the dead; it sets the captives free. When did such a vocation get boring?

  50. Steve Wright says:

    Steve, perhaps you didn’t have a homeletics class at the school of ministry
    I assure you it would be the rare seminary indeed where a man could earn an MDiv and not have to take homiletics in doing so.

    I’m guessing since you have trouble spelling the word, you might not know such things. πŸ™‚

  51. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, not sure who you are addressing but for the record, I preach AND teach in every Sunday message (sermon if you prefer). Both are important.

    Churches like the Lutherans who have two different services can divide those functions. We don’t have two different services. So both are included in the one service we have (actually we have four, but they are attendance related, with the content of message and songs the same)

    I do find it sad that in my experience as a visitor and in discussion with others, it is the preaching service that has much larger attendance than the teaching service (bible study). MLD can give stats as to his class versus the main worship service if he desires.

    I don’t know why that is. Especially since the church is almost totally filled with saved people – one would think more would want the Bible study too, not just the worship service.

    But maybe that’s just me and how God wired me, and maybe that is why I am serving at the type of church I serve at, rather than in a different denomination.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    To be clear, I understand why Christians are going to the worship service. I don’t know why so many avoid the teaching service. And I understand why, since communion is at the one and not the other, they would pick the one they pick.

    Not sure why they can’t earmark a couple hours on Sunday morning to do both though….

  53. Em, I’m also watching the Hawks and Rams. Great to see the Rams back in the Colosseum in the classic uniforms. I grew up watching them every Sunday. Great memories. That said, go Hawks.

  54. Steve as usual you don’t read the thread and jump in with comments totally devoid of context. You need to go back to my comment I think #7 where I spoke of how Chuck Smith took the East road when he said he had no Holy Spirit inspiration for sermon and started the v x v. There is my context.

    Now since you agree with me that preaching and teaching are different are you making a case that you cannot learn from preaching? Odd.

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This was tough these past 3 -4 hours tring to do this on my phone – who knows what get auto corrected, I don’t know how to copy and past and I can’t reference previous post by number from the phone. I have been out shopping with my wife – the last stop was Costco to eat and drink from their little communion tables and watch the Rams kick Chicken Hawk butt πŸ˜‰

    I hope everyone is keeping and doing this in a good spirit and not getting mad. πŸ™‚

    To Steve’s question about why more go to the divine service than my class – 1 is logistics that the big service happens at the same time as my class – but I think mainly our people are lazy and disinterested as in all churches and will choose to go to one – and they choose wisely to go to the place where they can confess their sin, hear God’s absolution in their ears, hear God’s gospel message to them and for them and have the body and blood of Jesus Christ pour down their throat.
    In my class for those who come, all they get the evangelical style verse by verse teaching.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve Wright – “Wallace has 85 pages in his exegetical grammar devoted just to the article. 85 pages on our little word, β€œthe”,

    So I obviously am not the first one to bring up this point. I doubt he wrote that article and the article for me. Although I have great respect for Dr. Wallace, I must say he could have shortened it a bit. I am sure if we looked it over there is much more discussion than the letter THE. — or he needs a better editor.

    It’s like the guy who wrote the 600 page commentary on Obadiah – hey, that commentary was not on Obadiah – it was on his ‘hot’ topic and not the 1 chapter / 21 verses of Obadiah.

  57. CostcoCal says:

    There were times Jesus would teach. And times He would preach.

    For me, I see my “teaching” on a Monday-Friday basis and my “preaching” on a Sunday morning.

    Any which way, I sure am needing God’s grace. I am unqualified!

  58. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, neither you nor Surfer in his later post remotely presented the backstory on Chuck and the verse by verse stuff in an accurate manner (Surfer did a little better than you though).

    Wallace needed an editor? You conclude that without knowing a lick about the language, or what he wrote (or the style of the book)? My point was that in Greek, our little word, the, is not that simple. It is a different language, the article has different uses. Haven’t you ever seen a Jehovah Witness ignorantly try to make hay out the first verse in John, by a vain and ill informed appeal to the Greek article – which that JW also does not know.

    Preaching and teaching are clearly different words and they speak to different things. They are joined in unison in describing both the Lord’s ministry (see Matthew) and in the book of Acts. (I would include all the verses but the links would moderate but you can computerize concordance search both words as one search and see for yourself)

    That said, I do both. People can certainly learn from both – and I am not “making a case” otherwise – you just did your usual incorrect application of motive and making stuff up that you think from your bias I must believe but I never actually say or do.

  59. Steve Wright says:

    I also think this thread misses a rather obvious point. We are talking about EXPOSITORY preaching. Criticisms of so-called “verse by verse” preaching (hoping to jab certain evangelical circles) are quite misguided.

    My preaching is expository. Biblical exposition. Here’s a nice tidy wikipedia definition if needed:

    “Expository preaching is a form of preaching that details the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture. It explains what the Bible means by what it says.”

    Frankly, I think it is folly to criticize the idea of taking a passage of Scripture, and understanding what it means. But knock yourselves out.

    And going all the way back to the days of Nehemiah and Ezra we read “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”

    I’m satisfied with the pedigree of this form of ministry.

    And of course, all so-called “verse by verse” means is that our weekly expository preaching is on consecutive passages through the entire book. Period.

  60. “MLD, neither you nor Surfer in his later post remotely presented the backstory on Chuck and the verse by verse stuff in an accurate manner (Surfer did a little better than you though).”

    Again falsehood on your part. I have read his story several times and I have listened to it many times. Perhaps he refined it some in the 10 yrs from when I heard it and the version you heard later. Perhaps SOM sanitized it by then.
    Simply put, he said he ran out of sermons and it was too hard to come up with new ones each week. If I remember correctly he landed on doing 1 John verse by verse and figured that solved his issue.

    As to Wallace, as I said I have great respect for him – but as I also said, if he wrote 85 pages to dispute the use of 1 word in the Bible, you know that I am not the only one bringing up the subject – also as you said, half of the translation committees agree with me.

    But lets go back to the core – are you disputing that Acts 2 in those verses is laying out the core of a church service?

    85 pages at 300 words per page is quite a bit of discussion on 1 word.- 25,000 words???

    I am searching to see if the article is online – help a brother out if you have the article.

  61. You know Steve, you aren’t the only one who reads the ‘hard’ books and went to school. I did 3 years distance learning with 3 weeks residency each year at Liberty (before they were a university) and I went through the masters of apologetics program at Simon Greenleaf – both in the 1980s. I did the apologetics as a certificate because i wasn’t going to make money from it as I was not going to be a pastor – and to be honest I was doing too much business travel to want to write the papers. But I put in my time and did my work – and studying with John Warwick Montgomery, Rod Rosenbladt and that crew was not easy sailing.

    And I read the ‘hard’ books – 2 years ago I did a 6 month program on my own reading Daniel Wallace’s Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament along side 2 of Michael Kruger’s The Question of the Canon and The Heresy of Orthodoxy (not your kind Xenia) all in an attempt to develop my own rebuttal to 2 of Bart Ehrman’s books.

  62. Steve Wright says:

    Simply put, he said he ran out of sermons and it was too hard to come up with new ones each week. If I remember correctly he landed on doing 1 John verse by verse and figured that solved his issue.
    If you had said that, I would not have objected. But you said far more in your first post that I never once ever heard. And given your track record, unless you can point me to a source, I am going to doubt your memory. You also forget I sat under the man’s teachings for years, unlike you. Any tapes you might have heard I assure you I have heard as well. And I was taught by Chuck personally, for two years, as part of that SOM class and asked him many things, and he shared this part of his ministry freely with us. You should retract your “SOM sanitized the story” nonsense as beneath you and this discussion.

    (As an aside, he was just as concerned when 1 John was wrapping up as to what to do next and he attributes a line from the Halley’s Bible Handbook that references what Halley thought was the most important thing in the book – namely a congregational plan of Bible reading with the sermon from the portion read by the church during the week. Chuck did that, starting with Genesis, emphasis on encouraging the congregation to read during the week what he would be teaching on)

    Now, I am done discussing the history of Chuck. I am also am done discussing Wallace until you invest in a copy and can follow along.

  63. I thought I made myself clear in the difference. A verse by verse teacher is teaching me what Paul wrote to the Romans – and if you are going to be an expository teacher, by your own wiki definition, you will stay within the text.

    At the same time my pastor (and millions of others who are proclaiming a law / gospel message to today’s Christian congregation will build his whole message – even if it is in a passage of Romans – and proclaim what the holy spirit is saying to me and to our church.

  64. You also forget I sat under the man’s teachings for years,

    I don’t know about you but I was there from 1885 to 2002 or 03 and I had his entire 5000 series that I listened to several times between say 1984 – 2002 (I think I also had his 2000 series in the NT.

  65. 1885 to 2002 or 03 – should read 1995 to 2002 or 03.

  66. Steve Wright says:

    However, I will say this, based on your line above “just the next 15 verses from where you left off last Sunday.”

    Anyone who thinks this is what is meant by verse by verse teaching would be in error. I can’t speak for every pastor, but I assure you neither I, nor anyone I have ever heard or met, just randomly goes verse by verse until they run out of time and then pick it up the next week and do the same.

    You look at the chapter, and the basic outline by paragraph and/or pericope. You then prayerfully choose how much material you can cover to do justice to the text, while also progressing through the material in expository fashion.

    I started chapter 16 of Matthew today. I felt the first 12 verses might be too short and I really wanted to get into the material that follows where Peter professes the Christ. However, there is no easy stopping point once you commit and I knew I could not do all I want to do to effectively teach the passage(s) if I went 20 verse or more.

    Now, one solution would be to skip the first 12 verses as meaningless to get to what “I wanted to preach” – but I don’t do that because I think all Scripture is God breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness….at least I am told that by Someone I believe.

    So I made the decision, and I think God’s Spirit was in it, to do the first 12 verses today. I will then teach 13-20 next week, and 21-28 the following week, completing the chapter. I think 13-28 is too much for one week also so that is my division.

    It is expository preaching and teaching. It just is over consecutive paragraphs going through the entire book over the course of months. Rather than a little Matthew here, a little Romans there, a little Ephesians the next week….

    Doing so greatly aids context discussions as well as I can constantly refer to portions of prior messages in recent weeks (i.e. chapters of Matthew) that bear on the discussion of the day.

  67. Steve Wright says:

    I was there from 1993-2001….I rarely missed a Sunday morning, evening, or midweek. Starting as a brand new believer (with a fairly keen memory)

    Those messages were part of the 7000 series I believe. The 5000 series was older (and shorter). I listened to every tape in the 5000 series as part of SOM and owned all the 7000 series…

    Like I said, give me your source because I did not hear your apocryphal additions to the tale even one time.

  68. I am sure that I bought the 5000 series while i was at CC Riverside and the SBC. Although I live in Riverside I worked a lot in the OC and would stop by the CCCM Chapel store and buy some tapes – I would be driving 7 to 10 hours everyday for work. I listened to a lot.

    I had all of Greg Laurie from the late 70s to mid 85 and then he actually stopped doing verse by verse and screwed up what was becoming a nice collection. He never made it past Nehemiah.

  69. “Like I said, give me your source because I did not hear your apocryphal additions to the tale even one time.”

    What would that be – that he did not have the holy spirit working on his sermons? How would you describe a pastor saying he could no longer come up with new sermons? and he did say that.

  70. Steve Wright says:

    So I made the decision, and I think God’s Spirit was in it, to do the first 12 verses today.
    This decision of course was made several days earlier in the week, and then the study and preparation could commence.

    (Lest anyone think I woke up this morning on my way to church and came to this conclusion….)

    And as noted, I already decided what I will teach the next two weeks as well…meaning where I will divide my messages since I already knew the “what” would be in the 16th chapter of Matthew.

  71. Anne says:

    Steve Wright: Here is one citation for you. I can probably find more. Have heard it from his own lips. Often. Circa 1970 and later. Knew Chuck long before you did. Had relatives that went to school with him. MLDs memory is working just fine.

  72. Anne says:

    See also chapter 13 “Principles of Growth” in Chuck Smiths book Harvest. Page 89, beginning 3rd paragraph. In his very own words. Pineapple Head has a pretty sharp memory too, BTW πŸ˜‰

  73. Pineapple Head says:

    Not sure what I have a great memory about. I know little CC history. I do okay at jeopardy though …

  74. Steve Wright says:

    (sigh). I could have written from memory 95% of that link Anne provided. I could have expanded on it as well to reference his emphasis on evangelism messages and how his small church of all believers would then be berated by Chuck for not inviting their unsaved friends. I could talk about his affirmation of the Spirit to grow the church through the preaching of the word and not the attendance contests and carnal methods he was encouraged to do in his past.

    And yeah I know all about the 2 years of messages drying up, the great surf in Huntington Beach etc. The 1 John discovery etc

    But not one word in that link supports MLD’s conflation about the Spirit in preparation, that verse by verse does not need the Spirit and is the easier road.

    Good grief, you guys are praising the use of a liturgical calendar to determine your preaching topic each week!

  75. Steve Wright says:

    I see nobody wants to support the claim that expository preaching has no place in the pulpit and should be reserved for the classroom?

    Of course, that would cast a wide net of criticism over centuries of history.

    Far easier to stay focused on some enigmatic boogeyman of verse by verse, and the churches most closely today (on this blog at least) connected to this boogeyman.

    I’m off for the day. Ironically will be teaching in the classroom, but won’t be giving my students an expository message from a passage of Scripture. Did that Sunday though.

  76. Em ... again says:

    reading again this morning the thread here reminds me of that old joke – the congregation goes out for dinner after church, they have roast preacher … πŸ™‚

    it seems to me that any style of serving up the Word that works is good…

    Pineapple Head, i commented on the L.A. Rams being back where they belong because, as a young girl of twelve entering puberty, they were my knights in shining armor, the good guys out to vanquish the bad guys… occasionally, i would get to go to a game – seeing the team (uniforms, probably) back there in the Colosseum … even the late afternoon shadows on the field took me back… i had a girlfriend who would invite me to go to church on Sunday and – true truth! – if i went (grudgingly) the Rams won their game and if i didn’t go they lost… i wonder when i would have come to the Lord without the Rams (i do believe in a form of predestination) – one thing about God, He’s not too proud to chase His own by whatever means … and i did have that praying Four Square leaning grandpa…

  77. Xenia says:

    Steve, I did support my belief that vs by vs preaching is better reserved for a classroom. I mentioned that it distracts from that main purpose of the Sunday morning service, which is the proclamation of the Gospel through the Liturgy and the reception of the Sacraments. I mentioned that the use of a liturgical calendar helps prevent the celebrant from going too far off the rails. While expository teaching has a longish history its history is not as long as the use of a Liturgy.

    However, Bible study is important. Offer Bible study classes. Don’t confound the purpose of Sunday Liturgy and academic Bible study.

  78. Xenia says:

    Also Steve, I am not terribly familiar with the Lutheran liturgical calendar, other than what MLD tells us here. From what I’ve noticed, they are very similar. The old Russian calendar, which is not used by all Orthodox, seems to be a few weeks behind the western calendar. But on the whole, they appear to be more or less in sync. We, of course, have a lot of saints’ days that the Lutherans don’t have. And we don’t celebrate Reformation Day. πŸ™‚

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    No one said that expository preaching had no place in the Sunday Pulpit. In fact I think the article segment was clear what the issue was;
    “Sermons become commentaries on the text rather than proclamation of the text, occasions for the edification of religious consciousness or fortification in morality.”

    This is a real problem in the church today (and if this is not what you do, well God Bless you.) – as I have been trying to point out – when the message is what Paul said to the Romans and NOT what the Holy Spirit is saying to me – but I have said that 3 times already.

    Also, no one was praising the use of a liturgical calendar to determine a preaching topic each week! Xenia brought it up as a reply to Josh the B’s claim that the V x v methods was the sure fire way to keep pastors on track.

  80. Xenia says:

    β€œSermons become commentaries on the text rather than proclamation of the text, occasions for the edification of religious consciousness or fortification in morality.”<<<

    This sentence sums up something I've been trying to explain to myself (and to others) for decades. Rather than using St. Paul's Holy Spirit inspired words to proclaim the Gospel to the people, most of the sermons I heard in my 30+ years as an evangelical were commentaries on the text. There is a place for this kind of study but I do not believe Sunday morning is it.

  81. Josh the Baptist says:

    I agree that there are other ways to keep preachers on track. A liturgical calendar or a lectionary could help guide sermon topics for sure.

    I do believe that expository preaching (doesn’t have to be verse by verse) is the best way to go, because I believe that the power is in God’s Word, so yes, give that to the people.

    The only bit of debate I’ll add is in response to “when the message is what Paul said to the Romans and NOT what the Holy Spirit is saying to me”. We must know what the Paul said to the Romans before we can draw any application of what the Holy Spirit is saying to me. In fact, divorcing Scripture from its historical context is the surefire way to come ups with all sorts of false teaching.

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    And back to Chuck Smith – he wore the lack of inspiration from the Holy Spirit for new sermons on his chest like medals of honor. He thought every church he went to was nothing more than works of men and blamed them for this issue.

    The boards were spiritually corrupt and stunted and that is why he had to change churches every 2 years. After all, how long can you work in the devil’s congregation.

    If this was not his story, he would not have continually told it – instead of shame, it became his glory – and he made glory out of it once he became the church authority.

  83. Xenia says:

    I listened to the 5000 series of tapes twice and the 2nd time I was required to take 2 pages of notes for each tape, as I was enrolled in the Bible College.

    Chuck certainly did tell the story of how he had a limited number of sermons he gave and when he ran out, he moved on to another church and gave them all over again. I would conclude from this that it is certainly implied that he was not getting any new sermon inspiration from the Holy Spirit. He landed in a place with good surfing and coincidentally found something written in Halley’s Bible Handbook that gave him the idea that if he preached verse by verse, he would never run out of teaching material.

    He told this story in his usual humorous style. I think I have summarized it correctly.

  84. Josh the Baptist says:

    “the sermons I heard in my 30+ years as an evangelical were commentaries on the text.”

    I’m not sure I understand the difference, or the problem for that matter. Could one of you help me out?

  85. Xenia says:

    Here is something else. When the pastor is giving a long academic lecture on the Bible text it can be extremely boring for children, especially young children. So, children’s church was born out of necessity. But I think it is important for families to worship together and for children to be present to benefit from the liturgy and to pray with their church family. In my church even babies receive Communion (I take up my little godson each Sunday) and there are things children can do to contribute to the worship of God, such as being an acolyte or singing in the choir and all can light candles, etc. During the week there might be a church school but on Sunday morning, all ages are participating in the exact same church life.

  86. Xenia says:

    Hi Josh, I am going to be away from the computer all morning but when I get back I will try to explain.

  87. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks! πŸ™‚

  88. Most of my life has been in churches that preached exposition. Some seemed to be able to teach and preach at the same time, while others were as dull as a butter knife.

    On the other side of the coin, there are some topical teachers who do a good job representing God and the gospel, others tend to wade into murky territory. Honestly, Andy Stanley, as of late, has had me raising my eyebrow on a few occasions.

    @ Em: I followed the Rams from the days of Roman Gabriel until the unceremonious departure from Anaheim Stadium. Sunday for me was church, lunch and the Rams game.
    I was really surprised how much nostalgia struck me for the same reasons you described.
    My family are all Hawk fans as we are in the NW, and sometimes the style of the Hawks remind me of the Rams. If the Rams go to the playoffs and the Hawks stay home, I do know who I will be cheering for.

  89. Josh the Baptist says:

    Andy Stanley has left the reservation.

  90. Jean says:

    A Christian sermon/message/homily should always fulfill two objectives:

    (1) “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” Jesus should be the focus of every sermon with the objective that through the proclamation of the Gospel the hearers will abide in Him.

    (2) “who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Christian preachers are “ministers of a new covenant.” That is Christ crucified for our sins. That is a Christian preacher’s ministry. That ministry, unlike the ministry of the letter (i.e., the Law – which kills) bestows the life giving Spirit. Every sermon should be life giving to the congregation. That comes from the ministry of the new covenant.

    This is the point behind the excerpt I posted at the top.

  91. When I preach, I have these objectives in mind:

    1. Help people understand WHAT GOD IS LIKE

    2. Help people understand HOW GOD WORKS

    3. Exalt and explain the GOSPEL OF GRACE


    5. Help the Word to become MORE INFUSED IN HEARTS AND MINDS

    6. Invite hearers to MOVE CLOSER TO EXPERIENCING GOD…even if it’s a baby step

  92. Em ... again says:

    Pineapple Head – IMV and FWIW, you are a pastor and a teacher … per your comment @91

  93. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “Andy Stanley has left the reservation.”

    I don’t know what you are currently referencing here but if it is he has left the faith, well he did that years ago.

  94. I don’t think AS has left the faith, but I worry that like many, he has embraced the god of creativity over the simple, faithful communication of God’s Word. He has moved from being a simple messenger to trying to write part of the story.

    I’m not anti-creativity. It can help with communication. But not when it gets in the way of understanding God’s simple gospel.

  95. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I like what Chris Rosebrough did with Andy Stanley earlier in the year. Called Common Core Christianity.

  96. Hey, I’ll give it a listen!

  97. Wow. I haven’t hear any AS stuff for a while. He’s sure going through a lot of gymnastics to try and connect with seekers. The opening to that message is all about him giving the church a black eye so his way of doing ministry will look cool.

  98. Steve Wright says:

    As I have said before, the commentaries I read from as part of my sermon prep are all exegetical commentaries from one of the half dozen or so well know exegetical series that are available today. Usually such a series (i.e. NICNT, NIGTC) will not have every New Testament book even available (yet). They rarely have the same author for more than one book in the series because typically these books are written over the course of a one year or longer sabbatical for the author where his focus is on writing the extensive commentary. The bibliographies alone used often number in the several hundred sources…

    Almost without exception, these men do not include a sentence of application or devotional material. It is not the job of the book, nor why people like myself are investing the time to read it.

    So if someone equates expositional preaching with such a commentary – then I would heartily agree that the pastor is making a huge mistake. Nothing devotional…nothing the people can see how to apply to their own walks with Christ…yeah, that would be bad preaching (or teaching if you prefer).

    However, in every environment I have been a part of, whether Seminary, School of Ministry, or the Bible College where I teach now, and in EVERY book on the subject of Bible hermeneutics or homiletics, there has ALWAYS been a focus on the three aspects of observation, interpretation, application (in that order) when it comes to Bible study for oneself, as well as when it comes to delivering a passage to God’s people.


    So if there are a bunch of pastors giving a lot of observation and interpretation and then closing shop for the day, they should change. I don’t run into that very often (in fact, if anything the greater risk seems to be the opposite as the message becomes more focused on jumping to applications, often wrongly, because the text has not been properly understood)

    Rarely does a Sunday go by that someone does not come up who is relatively new to the church and say how much they appreciate that I “stick to the Bible” in my messages, and express how much they are growing in their understanding of the Bible. (The people at our church are very gracious, but it is a humbling and a blessing to be on the receiving end)

    So yeah, there are ex-evangelicals who study the Bible well (and often) who would prefer church messages be something different. So they move on. God bless them. He has churches that will minister to such people. God bless those churches.

    Then there are the people who have been Christians and gone to other churches for years who are STARVING for the word of God and God leads them to the many churches like ours that will minister to them. God bless them too….and those churches.

  99. Xenia says:

    I think the point I am trying to make is that there’s nothing wrong with expositional or vs by vs Bible study. I think it is essential that these kinds of studies be offered. I just think there is a proper time and place for everything. A mid-week Bible class is the time for maps of the journeys of St. Paul and word studies. This is the time for notebooks and Greek dictionaries. Sunday morning is the time to receive the Eucharist and all that precedes its reception must lead up to it.

  100. CostcoCal says:

    There is no particular way of conducting a service given to us in the Book of Acts or the Epistles. There is a reason for that. As long as it is in Biblical parameters, to each his or her own.

  101. Xenia says:

    Anyone who is claiming to be starving for the word of God is not looking very hard. All they would have to do is turn on the radio and they can hear Bible teaching 24/7, not to mention all the opportunities to study the Bible offered online.

  102. MLD, I.m listening to Rosebrough’s critique of Stanley’s “Temple Model” message.

    If I was a color commentator on that broadcast, at some point I might insert this observation.

    “Andy Stanley is simply talking out his butt.”

  103. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Piney – LOL πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.