Things I Learned by Preaching Through a Long Book of the Bible

I found these notes on my phone that I had jotted down after completed preaching through a longer book of the Bible. As a Pastor, it is my calling, to the best of my ability to teach the Bible in order to equip those entrusted to my care. It’s difficult to prepare people when they become bored with the subject matter. This is going to be a natural challenge even to the best preacher. The following points are a few things that I learned from preaching through the book of Acts:

⁃ God inspired the writing of books, even long ones for a reason. The book of Acts isn’t just the first history book of the church but it also, at length, addresses her purpose and displays that purpose in action.

⁃ Somewhere there is an intersection between the attention of men and women and your ability to hold that attention on a given subject. I don’t always do this well. There were certain sections that I needed to summarize in order to move forward at a pace that kept this balance.

⁃ As much as it was a disciple for me to preach through a long book, it is also a disciple for people to listen through a long book. I believe God grew me as a preacher as we moved through Acts and I believe He grew those whom I serve as I preached through Acts.

⁃ It was helpful to periodically take breaks from the series. This enabled me to address pressing needs of our church and allow both the church and myself to return to the series with renewed interest.

⁃ I still struggle with preaching long passages. I was not able to address many details in the text, but that’s ok. It’s ok, not because the details don’t matter but because someday, I will return to the text. Also, as I grow, as the congregation grows, I will understand and the church will understand the text more deeply.

⁃ I am more confident than ever that the Chief Shepherd shepherds His sheep through the expositional preaching of His Word. I am the Under Shepherd. I don’t have all of the answers to life’s problems or the wisdom to lead His flock but He does and He is so kind and faithful to tend to His flock.

⁃ Different genres of Scripture require a different approach in preparation and preaching. Acts is largely Narrative by which God reveals historical events and God reveals Himself. In Narrative broader strokes are often required as opposed to Epistles which require at times greater attention to details such as literary devices and language.

– The acts of the Holy Spirit as He moved the gospel to the nations through the church is the story of Acts. Although there is a constant tension in Principle-izing the text in application, the story given by the Holy Spirit is that given by God through the text not man-centered, self-help principles.

Even as I look over these lessons, I recognize that they reflect my inadequacies as a preacher. I hope that if you are a preacher reading these lessons that you find them helpful in your own growth. If you are reading these lessons as one who has listened as I preached through the book of Acts, I hope that it helped you in your walk with the Lord and thank you for your graciousness as I learn to serve you and ultimately the Lord more faithfully.


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