Preaching the Word

Some Dude: I love church ‘X’ because they just preach the Word.

Me: What does that mean?

Some Dude: You know, they just preach from the Bible.

Me: Sounds like every church I know of.

Some Dude: No, most churches don’t preach straight from the Bible. Most pastors tell stupid stories and jokes and stuff.

Me: I’m pretty sure if we asked every pastor in town if they ‘preached the Word’ they would say that they do.

Some Dude: Well….uh

I had this conversation no less than three times last week. I have come to the conclusion that ‘preach the word‘ is Christian code language for:

This church has the same socio-political views as I do.

Does your church ‘preach the Word’?

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Vince Marotte is a communicator, futurist, speaker and consultant. He dwells in creative spaces and lives with ideas. Never satisfied with the status quo, he is always looking for a better way to do things. He recently wrote Context and Voice—communication design in our new media culture and also contributes regularly to Outreach Magazine.

23 thoughts on “Preaching the Word”

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  2. It’s also code for a heart condition called “snottiness”

    If you ask a very successful church why they are growing so much, their answer will be “Because we preach the Word”. If you ask a small, struggling church why people aren’t coming, they will say “Because we preach the Word.”

    My final pairing had Memphis against Pitt. I have been humiliated because “I preach the Word”. No wait…that’s not it.

  3. I think the distinction Some Dude may have been trying to make is the difference between verse-by-verse expository preaching/teaching and topical teaching, where the pastor/teacher takes A verse, and builds a sermon around that verse. While that has value, I think it will sometimes lead into teaching the verse out of context. One thing I appreciate about Dr. Voddie Baucham from Spring, TX is he really emphasizes the value of context when doing Bible study.

    Just my hyper-inflated two cents worth, soon to be worth one widow’s mite.

  4. @Damon :: I think you’re right. I think lots of teaching styles are valid and speak to different people in different stages of spiritual growth. To think one is better than another is narrow.

  5. I guess I struggle with the typical definition of, “the word,” which has become synonymous with Bible. Which is ludicrous. Besides the whole “logos,” dialogue of John (word=preincarnate Christ), how can we preach the “Bible?” Seriously. When did Jesus ever say, “The books of the New Testament are going to be Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, […] Relations. Use these in your sermons.”

    No offense to anyone, but in my mind, Sola Scriptura falls flat. It depends on the personal interpretation of “the word,” with the Holy Spirit as a personal guide. But either the Holy Spirit is a Liar (a bizillion different interpretations) or Sola Scriptura really means “Sola my prideful interpretation of truth.”

  6. I’m curious as to what you mean by “falls flat”. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura says (broadly, I realize) that Scripture alone is the basis of truth for the Christian faith. Obviously the interpretation of man is fallible, without the Scripture as a basis, how could you rely on the opinions of man alone?

    I guess my point is that it seems like humans are the fallible component in all of the muck, not Scripture.

  7. Damon,
    My point is…the LOGIC of Sola Scriptura falls flat. It’s circular. To what authority does one appeal to when they adhere to Sola Scriptura…SCRIPTURE???

    Show me one scripture that explicitly states that Scirpture is our sole absis for faith and practice. It can’t be done.

  8. Well, I think you could start at Deuteronomy 4:2… and I think my point is that I believe you have to look at what is unequivocably the inspired Word of God, written by man, rather than the word of God, inspired by man.

    Maybe I’m still not understanding something… look at II Timothy 3:16-17, and then tell me if I am missing your point.

  9. Well…Deuteronomy does not clarify that the words/commands given by the Lord are Strictly written tradition. In fact, Moses frequently drew upon oral tradition as authoritative. And I love II Timothy. I’ll agree with Paul the scripture is good and useful for teaching etc., but I won’t dishonor Paul by misinterpreting. This verse in no way says scripture alone is the sole authoritative source in Chrisitianity. How could he???When he spoke those words the gospels had not yet been written.

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  11. Sounds like “Dude” is more interested in a sound teaching based on scriptural references weekly.

    Sounds like “Dude” needs to go to seminary.

    Churches have to relate the gospel to present times, situations, and circumstances to have affect in present day.
    Jokes, stories, illustrations are exactly how Jesus taught the masses.
    He used the WORD as his foundation – but painted the picture with stories.

    We call ourselves a “word” church. But that doesn’t mean we don’t mix it up and have fun. I think a line upon line teaching church would be boring…

    Just my two cents.

    Staff Pastor at a “Word Church”

  12. I like to think that a number of things go into our Scripture reading. Wesleyans call it the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. It states that in our interpretation of Scripture we use 4 things.

    1. Scripture
    2. Reason
    3. Tradition
    4. Experience

    But beyond that the whole authority of scripture thing is a deep psychological topic for some ‘dudes’. I feel that some want the Scripture Authority so they can use it as a weapon to control things and people around them. It’s kind of scary sometimes.

    Scripture alone is a good idea, but like Nate was saying (I think) It doesn’t always hold up practically.

    I would also hope that “dude” avoids seminary. He would be annoying.

  13. Brad…
    ….def. where I was heading.

    The eisegesis that occurs when one approaches the text with a presupposed idea is what bugs me. Your “weapon” metaphor, e.g.

    I have become appreciative of tradition since leaving seminary.

  14. I think an earlier commentor high-lighted this already but I will add my two cents as well.

    I think there is a big difference in topical vs expository preaching. While both are ‘preaching the word’, I have an opinion that expository comes across as a deeper dive into the word. However, some people get lost in that deep dive and can’t connect the dots to their own lives and so they don’t get anything from the message. The converse is true of the topical, sometimes it is so shallow to the hearer that it seems elementary.

    I prefer expository but attend a church that is more topical in presentation. I find that I enjoy listening to podcasts throughout the week to get some of the exposition that is missing on Sunday morning.

    Anyway, those are my pennies.

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