“All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable … .” (Second Timothy 3:16)
We pastors love the Word of God. We read it, study it, devote our lives to learning and teaching and preaching its riches. It is our sole authority for what we believe and teach.
We sometimes do things that undermine the confidence of our congregations in God’s Word. By our (perhaps) well-intentioned attempts to communicate what we have learned and believe, we may actually do more harm than good.
The result of that is to discourage God’s people from reading it on their own and feeding their souls upon its nourishment. And when we do that, we are betraying them, dishonoring the Lord and playing right into the hands of the enemy.
Here are 10 ways we sabotage the confidence of our people in Holy Scripture …
1. The pastor stands to preach without reading Scripture at all.
He says by his omission that Scripture doesn’t matter, that what counts is what he has to say.
Having said that, I will say it’s not always necessary to carry a Bible into the pulpit with you if you know the text by heart or it will be projected onto the screen.
But the pastor should leave no question in anyone’s mind that what he is sharing is not some clever something he thought up, but a message based on God’s eternal Word.
2. He reads it but does not preach it.
His sermon is made up of his ideas, input from others, quotes he has picked up in his reading. The Scripture is not relevant.
I confess to having done this myself. The message, I felt, was true to Scripture but the text I read at the beginning had little to do with anything.
It sets a bad precedent for our people.
3. He shortcuts the reading of Scripture in order to get to the sermon.
I heard of a pastor who announced, “I’m not going to read the text this morning so I can get into the message God has given me.”
Anytime we leave our people with the impression that God is still giving extrabiblical revelations today, we are opening up a Pandora’s box of problems which we will never be able to close it again.
Let us be careful of “adding to this word.”