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November 11, 2012 / Matt Larson

How we choose what sections of Scripture to preach


This morning at Anthem, we’re going to be covering a rather large section of Scripture. We’re starting in Luke 20:1 and going all the way through the end of chapter 21. I thought it would be helpful to mention a few things in preparation for this morning, but also to help you understand a bit about how we teach at Anthem Church. 

When we look at the options for teaching, there are typically three ways to go through the Scriptures: Topical, expositional and exegetical. Topical teaching starts with the issue or topic (i.e. faith, grace, sin, etc.) and then searches out the Scriptures to see what they have to say about that topic. Expository teaching goes through the text, identifies the ideas within the text and teaches what the Bible has to say from the text. Exegetical teaching digs into the technical and grammatical structures of the text, drawing meaning from word choice, sentence structure and grammatical composition in addition to the inherent meaning of the words themselves.

All three forms of teaching are valid expressions of teaching as long as the meaning comes from the text and not the cleverness or wisdom of the teacher.

At Anthem, we typically land somewhere between expositional and exegetical, leaning towards expositional. We start the process by looking at the book as a whole and it’s context within the greater story of Scripture. Then we look at each movement within the text. For example, in Luke, there are 3 major movements. Luke 1:1-9:50 contains the first 32.5 years of Jesus’ life, ministry and teaching carrying common themes and interactions. Luke 9:51-19:27 is the narrative of Jesus’ journey towards Jerusalem from Galilee. He spends an unknown amount of time (we’ve been saying 6 months) teaching, healing and prophesying his way towards Jerusalem. Luke 19:28-24:53 is The final week of Jesus’ life, his post-resurrection appearances and his ascension into Heaven.

Then within those movements, we look to find the natural breaks, topics, and trends within the text that would help determine what sections to preach through each week. Sometimes those sections are as short as a few verses. And sometimes, as is the case this morning, the sections are longer, upwards of 2 full chapters. The idea is to let the text shape our pace, rather than setting a pace and forcing the text into that pace (although there have been times when we have done this… it usually reveals itself to be poor planning). The larger sections are typically larger because there is a common big idea. If we were to spend the next three weeks going through chapters 20 and 21, we might get more technical and specific teaching from each verse, but the big idea of these chapters might get lost in our technical exegesis. 

My hope for our time studying the Scriptures is that we would get a full view of the story of God. We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired, authoritative revelation for our lives, we believe that it is without error in it’s original autographs (manuscripts). We believe that we have a carefully translated and accurately represented version of what was originally written. 

If we believe these things, it should have an affect on the way that we study and preach. The Scriptures are the authority, not me and not Kevin. Whatever authority we speak with comes from Scripture, not from our own wisdom or eloquence. Our job is to equip the saints and we believe that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

By getting a full picture of Scripture, Anthem will have a greater understanding of the Gospel and God’s call on our lives to live as missionaries in this world, for his glory.

I hope this helps you understand a bit of why we do what we do.


If you run into a situation like today where we are covering a larger portion of the text and as you read it, you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We love talking about the Scriptures! Both Kevin and I would be happy to spend time with you, working to understand even the smallest details to the best of our ability. 


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