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Question 8:

Why are you so obsessed with interpreting and preaching the text of Scripture every week?

This question came to me out of a conversation about the purpose of preaching and what the importance of it is. I want to begin with a brief comment about the historical context of preaching, which will offer some context for me to then answer this question.

As we study Biblical history, both in the actual text of the Bible, but also in other sources through the centuries, it is clear that the saints through the ages have always viewed sound teaching and preaching as the most important and vital part of the ministry of the church.

In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8, we see Ezra the scribe come before the assembly of the people and read the scroll of the Lord. It even says he stood on a wooden platform, which the KJV translates as "pulpit". That passage says that Ezra read from the book of the Law, the people proclaimed, "Amen, Amen", and then the book of the Law was explained to all the people by the men who were with Ezra. This example shows plainly that the reading and preaching of the Word was an important part of the worship of the people God, even in Old Testament times.

In the New Testament, we have examples to follow there as well. At Pentecost, in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers for the first time, it was Peter who stood up and preached, quoting extensively from the book of Joel, and then explaining the message of the gospel to all who could hear. Just a few verses later, we read that as the early church gathered, they devoted themselves to the Apostle's teaching. The rest of the book of Acts is full of the narratives of the early church going into the regions near and far to share the gospel with the world, most often by publically preaching and teaching.

A few weeks ago, I quoted Dr. Al Mohler at the beginning of my message, who said, "The reformers saw the right preaching of the Word of God as the first mark of a true church."

From age to age, and generation to generation, it has been the faithful preaching of the Word of God that has edified the saints for the work God has given us, which we see in 2 Corinthians as the ministry of reconciliation to the world. (2 Corinthians 5:18) And through the generations, when we have seen revival and increase in the church, it has always been associated with true, Biblical preaching.

However, all of those examples hinge on one central question: Is the Bible the written and recorded Word of God?

If we answer no to this, then the Bible is of no greater importance than any other book we could pick up off the shelf. However, if the answer is yes, then there are great implications found in the Bible itself about how we should treat these sacred words.

Most importantly are these two instructions from Paul to his young pastoral trainee, Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 4:1-2:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

We can see clearly from Paul's instructions that it is the Word of God that he is commanding to be central in the ministry of the church. Paul's words to Timothy are instructive for us today as well, that we would believe and practice that the Bible is useful for everything a person of God needs to be complete. Because of that, I believe the Bible and its meaning should be the obsession of all who ascend the stairs to the pulpit.

Why am I obsessed with the text, interpreting it correctly, and then preaching it right, every single Sunday? Because I believe that God has spoken, and it is those words which teach us, reprove us, correct us, and train us, if we are careful to study them correctly.

Thanks to Ben for this question.

Because of Christ,
Pastor Jayson
jayson@watersedgebible.org

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