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Don’t Undermine God’s Word

9. He skips around in his preaching, never preaches the grand themes of the Word or entire books of the Bible.

Therefore, his people never learn their Scripture.

10. Finally, few things discourage God’s people from trusting the Word and reading it for their own edification like a pastor who overdoes the exegetical business.

This is the opposite of 1. and 2. above. In this, the pastor spends two years preaching through First John. He proudly announces to his preacher friends that after six months, he’s still in the first chapter, as though this were an accomplishment to be proud of. As a result, members grow to despise that epistle. (Not saying that “all” do, but many will, and that’s a serious indictment.)

The question then becomes, what can a pastor do to encourage his people to love God’s Word more and to make full use of it during the week?

Here are some suggestions …

1. Love it yourself, pastor. 

Read it daily, read it carefully and lovingly, and listen to its message.

2. Study it carefully, looking for its plain and intended message, not bringing to it your own presumption.

“What is God saying here?” Do not read it looking for a sermon, although you will find plenty. Do not read it looking to prove a point, although you will often make such a discovery.

3. Pray about this.

Ask the Holy Spirit—the Author of this Book, mind you!—how to present it best and to encourage your people (His people!) to love it and obey its teaching. The goal is for them to say as Job did, “I have esteemed the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food!” (That’s Job 23:12.)

4. Plan your public reading of the text by reading it multiple times aloud.

Read it slowly, and ask your spouse for suggestions on how to make your reading of it more effective.

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Joe McKeever has been a preacher for nearly 60 years, a pastor for 42 years, and a cartoonist/writer for Christian publications all his adult life. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.