Debunking the need to preach a book all at once

There seems to be an idea that exegetical preaching means more than simply walking through a book with your congregation. Somewhere along the line, we started to think that you had to do that entire walk in the space of a school term – 10 or 11 weeks.

And that works semi-ok for some books; Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, etc. And it works ok for some sections of the gospels or other narratives; Gen 1-11, Exo 1-12, Mark 1-8, Rev 1-7, etc.

But the reality is that these these two ideas “preaching thru a book well” and “only doing a book for a limited number of weeks” have two very different intentions, and they end up hurting each other. On one hand, there’s so much in Colossians, Ephesians and others that breaking them up into 10 parts STILL glosses over heaps of really amazing ideas. 10 weeks still isn’t long enough for these books. On the other hand, apart from the Pastoral Epistles, you’re still going to break up a book to preach it in 10 weeks. Preaching Mark 1-8 is not preaching Mark.

Here’s two things we’ve started:

  1. Preach slowly through a book over years. We’ve started Romans a few years ago, just working through a few verses every term 2. If we had our time again, I reckon we’d move through it even slower.
  2. Give your less-often preachers a book/series that they can do over years, a few weeks at a time. I’ve been working through Acts 4 weeks at a time. When else would you get to take your congregation through Acts??
    The other value of this is that it makes each of your staff an “expert” in a book. It deepens the exegetical scholarship of your staff team.

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