I have listened to preaching from many different denominations and in many parts of the world and most of the time I just accepted what was being taught, because it was from a ‘pastor’. However, these past couple years, I have been exposed to a rare form of preaching and I’m captivated and challenged by it and now concerned for the state of preaching in the Church.
A sad reality that many buildings promoting themselves as a church, aren’t following what the Bible says about church and many pastors aren’t accurately teaching God’s Word. If we attend a ‘church’ because it looks good and is close by; but does not teach the truth, we will become deceived and worse off in our faith than when we started.
Right View of Scripture
Preaching according to the Bible is essential for a true church. To start with, I must set out what I believe the Bible is, there is much debate in this area and true preaching can’t be found in a wrong view of scripture.
The Word of God is exactly that, it is the words from God. Therefore, everything contained in scripture is true (from the original language and first manuscript) and we must accept it as truth for all time. Although written by human authors, each of these authors was under the inspiration of God and therefore comes from a perfect, unchanging and completely trustworthy source. “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness” 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16.
The Word also has the power to overcome the strength of humanity, sin and the devil. The lies of the devil, the persuasion by a politician and the propaganda by a salesman hold no power compared to the Word of God. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12
Still Relevant Today
Being from God and completely true, His Word must lead us into submission to the authority of scripture and our appropriate response must be to obey His Word. While the Bible was written many years ago, it is still authoritative today and we must submit to it at all times. If it wasn’t completely true or if we could make up any meaning we want from the Bible, Christianity would be null and void. If any part of the Bible is not true, how could we trust any of it or if we decide our own meaning, how can anything be certain?
Assuming you accept the above arguments for what God’s Word is, there is no other option for a pastor but to speak God’s Words, because nothing we can conjure up will come close to the powerful words God has given us. Therefore, preaching the truth must be central and this does not include a bible reading to begin with and then a psychology lesson to follow!
True biblical preaching allows the meaning of a passage from scripture to be the focus of a sermon and should involve a thorough study to determine what God was saying when it was first penned. This type of study includes understanding the cultural and historical setting of the passage and should consider the original languages of Hebrew and Greek.
After concluding what the writer meant to his original audience (often, but not always Israel), a pastor will then assemble an application for his audience. This application must flow smoothly from the text being studied and should force a pastor to explain application based on God’s meaning, not his own.
Let’s consider this example I personally have used incorrectly, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11). This verse has powerful words of hope and reassurance, however if this is truly applicable to any of us today how should we respond to the previous verse “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.”? What right do we have to claim this positive verse for ourselves unless we are going to be in exile in Babylon for 70 years?
This is like agreeing to a house mortgage but refusing to pay the interest that was stated on the exact same document! No-one would get away with this and you would quickly be kicked out of your house. So too, the whole of God’s document must be accepted and we must study God’s Word in its proper context to discover what it meant to the original audience.
I have only brushed the surface for reasons to attend a church with strong biblical teaching and have offered a basic overview of what should be preached. But if a church doesn’t hold these values mentioned above, you’re not attending a true biblical Church because a loving and biblical pastor will provide his congregation with the most powerful words he can deliver, the everlasting, perfect and transformational Word of God.
Genevieve Wilson lives in the USA originally from Canada, then Australia with YWAM) is a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband.