Sunday, April 24, 2005

How Much of the Bible is Enough?

I've recently gotten a few comments back about my sermons not having enough scripture in them. I appreciate that. I love the Bible and I love a good sermon that helps me to understand it better. But some topics are hard to draw from any one Bible text. For example, my current series on "boundaries". There are some texts that show one or two aspects of boundaries but I can't think of any one text that teaches everything there is to know about boundaries. To cover all of the Bible necessary to make a good teaching would take months. I'm afraid I'd bore people to tears, and then it's not a good teaching!

So, as a speaker, I have a choice. I can spend my twenty five minutes surfing the Bible, taking a lot of time to tell one or two stories to make a few points, or I can spend my time making lots of points and make a few pertinent quotations from the Bible. I've chosen the latter. It may not satisfy the serious Bible student but it's really the only practical solution to my dilemma.

To satisfy people's need for more Bible verses, some preachers attach verses to their points in a forced way. I won't do that. That's not being intellectually honest with my listeners. The verse isn't being used to support the point. It's simply there to make people feel the sermon is more "biblical". But think about that. Does the volume of Bible quotations really make a sermon more biblical? Not at all. I've heard plenty of sermons, full of the Bible, that I think totally misrepresent God.

Read Paul's sermon in the book of Acts (17) to the Greeks. He didn't quote the Bible at all. He quoted their local poet. Yet Paul spoke truth that drew people to Jesus. There's a time to quote the Bible and there are times not to. I'm trying to find the right balance.

This summer we are going to do a study on the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Job. Hopefully that will satisfy those who are looking for more of the Bible.

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