How will you teach the Bible at the new Church?

An anonymous person asks a great question.

Before I respond, I’d like to get everyone up to speed on this question. The author of this question wanted to know if we intended to teach the Bible line by line, or if we intended to use sermon series and subject based talks.

Recently, there’s been a lot of emphasis on teaching the Bible line by line. In the Christian world, people have often equated this type of teaching (what is often called exposition) as the way to best get at the heart of what the Bible is saying. This can be true, but is not always the case.

Here’s why.

There are 66 individual books in the Bible. And a quick glance at these books makes it easy to see that within the Bible there are different genres of literature. For instance, some of the genres of the Bible are considered to be poetry, history, genealogies, gospels, letters, etc. Each of these genres requires a unique approach to the way they are read and taught.

Think of it this way. You would read a newspaper differently than you would read a letter from a loved one. You would approach a work of fiction differently than you would approach a work of non-fiction. So it is with the Bible. Some areas of the Bible are more easily taught in a line-by-line fashion, while other areas require a different approach.

This is especially true in a book like Acts, which is largely a narrative story chronicling the growth of the early church. So, it’s best to teach the Bible in the fashion each book was written, rather than imposing one method of teaching on the whole Bible.

So to answer the question…we intend to teach the whole Bible (Acts 20:27) in a way that reflects the original intent of the author who wrote the book. We also intend to do this with a healthy dose of diversity. It’s fair to say series, subjects, theology, felt needs, cultural questions, will all be on the teaching palette. And, we intend to teach these truths with a voice that is in tune with, and committed to developing Christians and reaching our culture.

So…what do you think?


~ by Anthony Orzo on November 12, 2009.

5 Responses to “How will you teach the Bible at the new Church?”

  1. “So…what do you think?”

    I suspect you’ll be doing both, Ant.

    “Both.” One word with significant, unencumbered, clarity.

    But, of course, Acts 20.27 has nothing to do with any number of variable methods of biblical exposition in an EV church, but has everything to do with Paul’s proclamation of a unified Gospel message to Jews and Gentiles alike in the face of life-threatening persecution for same.

    So “[if] we intend to teach the whole Bible . . . in a way that reflects the original intent of the author who wrote the book,” we will recognize that Luke is intending to provide us with a genuinely Pauline mission statement summarizing his ministry, not a tiny, self-contained guide on how to approach the preaching of God’s word.

    I don’t disagree with your stated goal, Ant. I just want to have some assurance that you’ve thought these things through at a foundational level.

    You are a church planter, after all.


    • Kelly, as a brother in Christ I love you, but I feel your antagonistic tones are somewhat harmful to others wanting to participate in this blog. I’m asking you gently to be mindful of your choice of words and the tone in which some (including myself) might be reading them.

      You’ll notice that Acts 20:27 was used to reference the idea of teaching the whole will of God. By this I mean that one of the ways we will teach the Bible at the new church is to teach all of the Bible in its entirety. It was not my intention to proof text every statement with a Bible verse.

  2. Anthony, I think the Acts verse is relevant! It doesn’t focus on methods of exposition but it have bearing on the subject at hand by Paul is assuring the Ephesian elders that he hasn’t failed to proclaim the whole will of God. He follows this by telling them to shepherd the flock. I think this helps us consider our approach to preaching. We can ask, what approach or approaches will best serve the need to preach the whole will of God and shepherd the flock entrusted to our care.

    I’m of the opinion that a blend of expository preaching through books or sections of Scripture supplemented by series of expository sermons on selected Scriptures as well as occasional sermons to address particular needs offers the more complete and flexible approach to preaching the whole will of God and shepherding the flock.
    I appreciate your willingness to employ various approaches to best accomplish the Biblical mandates for preaching. .

  3. I believe that teaching the word of God should take many forms: line by line, series that show the interconnection between the old and new testaments, series that deal with specific life issues, and series of themes through an entire book of the Bible.
    I find where most churches miss the mark is in the individual’s study of God’s Word. That is to say I believe that teaching the Bible to the new church must come at the individual level. This being in the form of individual study and family Bible studies at home with our spouses and with our children. The new church must take accountability for learning the Word for themself and not depending on someone to show it to them. I believe that many of us were raised in a church where the responsibility of obtaining knowledge of the Bible fell upon the pastor, leader or teacher and not the individual themself.
    So with that said I believe that the new church must be challenged toward individual study and the teaching when the community comes together should supplement that individual study.

  4. Cody, this is another really good insight. I believe your right. It seems at times that studying the Bible has been farmed out to what a good friend of mine used to call…the hired guns!

    By this he meant the pasotral staff, and trained Bible teachers. We should never undermine the task of those who have been called by God to teach (which I know you are not doing), however we should always remember that Bible study happens on both a corporate and individual level.

    Cody, I wonder if you would ever be willing to do a guest post for me? We have a long history together and I think you write well. Let me know.

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