Scripture References in Sermons

I heard a sermon recently that just focused on one part of scripture. The pastor delivering the message kind of paraphrased, which I wasn’t crazy about – I’d rather read God’s words but I did like that we weren’t skipping all over the Bible reading 2-3 verses here and there.

It seems that the Bible is so "deep" that you can’t really get context from just 2-3 verses. It needs to be studied. Sure, pastors know the Bible really well and I’d like to think that I have a really good understanding of it, but to get the real context, I think that it needs to be studied. I know that pastors probably mean for people (and want people) to go home and study what was said more on their own, but I don’t think that happens all the time.

I was starting to get annoyed with sermons where the pastor would read 2-3 verses here and 2-3 there and connect them. Sure, the Bible was all inspired by the same author (God) but it was written at different times to different people. You don’t always get the context when that happens. The result is people (in the congregation) that throw out Bible sound bites thinking that they know what they’re talking about when sometimes their sound bite isn’t being used correctly.

So I think there needs to be some give and take here, of course. People need to dig into sermon references on their own but preaching and teaching from just one particular passage of Scripture definitely has its place – and I think it should be done more often. It’s nice.

-T