I entered pastoral ministry 40 years ago with a gift. The gift was given to me when I sat under the preaching of an apostolic leader named Roy Hicks, Jr. Roy preached through Scripture. He did not present topical opinions. He would walk us through book after book of the Bible unpacking eternal truth. I never left the sanctuary at Faith Center in Eugene, Oregon with Roy’s opinion. I always left with the Word.
When Roy sent Jan and me out to plant our first church, I followed Roy’s example. The first book I preached through was the book of Luke. It took me two and a half years. Each week, I would handwrite the text to engage it on a personal level. I studied each word in the Greek language and I read every commentary I possessed in my young and growing library.
I was amazed in those first two and a half years how the Lord would align next week’s sermon with a current hot-button issue or some tragic event taking place in culture. I was never left without application. Each Monday morning when I began to study for the upcoming Sunday’s message, I knew what text I would be in and would not have to search for a topic. It was always there waiting for me. I followed that preaching model for the next 35 years with only a few detours under the direction of the Lord, but never apart from the assignment to unpack the Word, not my opinion about the Word.
Perhaps some of the problems we currently face in the Church could be related to our lack of understanding of God’s Word. This lack of biblical knowledge is not a remedy for all our problems, but it is a valid consideration for many of them.
As one who is now an elder in the Body of Christ, in both age and experience, I see a hunger emerging in the ranks. Many are growing tired of a weekly diet of pastoral opinion at the expense of knowing the Word. They are searching out other options.
We are on the verge of a new era of preaching that will flow from the simple delivery of God’s inspired and illuminated Scripture. The Word of God has and will continue to endure through all the changes that take place in culture and within Church. If we are faithful to preach the Word we will watch with amazement as the Lord performs miraculous transformations in individuals, families, and culture.