1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Read 1 Peter 2:13-3:7

Questions to Consider

1. If you had to summarize the theme of this passage in one word, which word would you choose? Which other New Testament passages can you think of that deal with the issue of submission to authority? In lesson 3 (link above), we learned that another theme we often see in the New Testament is growing to maturity in Christ. How can learning to submit to the authorities in your life help you to grow in spiritual maturity? Describe how biblical submission to authority fits with the theme of 1-2 Peter: living holy lives under persecution and before an unholy world.

2. For this lesson, we’re going to break this passage down into three sections and answer some similar questions about each.

Three different groups of people are exhorted to submit to authority in this passage. Identify these three groups of people and the authorities they’re instructed to submit to:

2:13-17-

 

2:18-25-

 

3:1-6-

 

3. God doesn’t always explain why He gives certain instructions, but sometimes He graciously does to help us understand Him and to encourage us to “think His thoughts after Him.”

What are the specific reasons He gives to each group for submitting to their particular authority? Is there a common thread among these reasons? Zoom out and take a “big picture” look at the general principle of Christians submitting to earthly authorities. What is God’s overall reason for this principle? How does our submission to authority paint a picture for unbelievers that there is an Ultimate Authority – Jesus – and that one day every knee will bow to Him?

4. Describe the opposition each group faces from the authorities they’re to submit to. What is the general reason for this opposition? Is it easier for you to submit to a) Christian authority you’re doctrinally aligned with, b) a “Christian” authority who’s doctrinally unsound (or a false convert), or c) a non-Christian authority? Why?

5. Study 2:20b-25. Think back over Jesus’ earthly ministry. In what ways did He suffer unjustly? How does Jesus’ response to unjust suffering set an example to Peter’s first century persecuted and dispersed audience of Christians, and how does it set an example for us to follow today during suffering and persecution? How is bearing up under unjust treatment and responding to it in a godly way a testimony of Christ to the lost around us? How might it open a door to share the gospel with someone?

6. How does it comfort you to know that you, like Jesus, can “entrust yourself to the One who judges justly”(2:23)? Does any act of evil or persecution against God’s children ever escape His notice and go unpunished either in this life or the next?

7. In each of our three sections God addresses those who are to submit, but He only addresses the authority in one section. Which authority is that, in which verse? Why do you think He addresses this particular authority here and not the others? What are the characteristics God instructs this authority to exhibit to the person under him, and how should these characteristics apply generally to all Christians in a position of authority over others? How does a godly, loving demonstration of authority point to God’s loving and benevolent authority?


Homework

Are there any authorities in your life that you have difficulty submitting to? The government/laws (2:13-17), your boss (2:18-25), your husband (3:1-6)? Think about the instructions for submitting to authority in today’s passage, identify one practical way you could better submit to your authority, and put it into practice this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 3

Previous Lessons: 1, 2,

Read 1 Peter 2:1-12

Questions to Consider

1. What word does verse 1 start with? Review lesson 2 (link above) #7. What does the pivot word “so” mean in this verse? You may find it helpful to summarize chapters 1-2 in a “hinge sentence” (chapter 1 on the left, chapter 2:1-12 on the right, and the “So” in 2:1 as the hinge).

2. Peter uses several metaphors in this chapter. Can you identify each of them and explain the point he’s trying to make with each?

3. Read verses 1-3. One of the themes of the New Testament epistles is growing from spiritual immaturity as a new Christian to spiritual maturity in Christ. Consider verses 1-3 in light of these passages. What do verses 1-3 explain to us about growing toward maturity in Christ? What do these verses tell us to do? What does Peter mean by “if indeed you have tasted…” (3)? (hint)

4. Examine verses 4-8, focusing on what these verses say about Jesus. Who is “him” in verse 4a, and how is He described in 4b? If you haven’t already done so in #2, explain the stone/rock metaphor in 4-8. Why would God choose to represent Christ as a “living stone” (4), a “cornerstone” (6,7), and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (8)?

Now focus on what these verses say about Christians and our relationship to Christ. Why are we called living stones in v.4 as Jesus was in v.3? How does “being built up as a spiritual house” (5a) return to the theme of maturing in Christ? What is the purpose (“to be”) of this maturing? (5b)

Use your cross-references and think back to what you know about the Old Testament priesthood. Why does Peter say Believers are a “holy priesthood”? (5) What “spiritual sacrifices” do we offer, how do we offer them “through Jesus Christ,” and why are these sacrifices only acceptable to God when offered through Jesus Christ (e.g. Are things like prayer, praise, and worship acceptable to God if the person offering them isn’t a Believer? Why not?)? (5)

Explain the honor that comes with being a Believer. (7) Explain the unbeliever’s dishonor in rejecting, stumbling over, and taking offense at Christ. (7-8)

5. Study verses 9-10. Which characteristics, attitudes and actions of the Believer, and which attributes of God, would cause Peter to describe us as…

A chosen race-

A royal priesthood (And what’s the difference between a “royal” priesthood and a “holy” priesthood (5)?)-

A people for His own possession-

God’s people-

How do each of these descriptions indicate that Believers are consecrated (“set apart”)? What is the purpose (“that you may” – 9b) for which God sets us apart from the world?

6. Read verses 11-12. Why does Peter address his original audience as literal “sojourners and exiles”? In what way are all Christians spiritual sojourners and exiles?

In Scripture, the word “passion” does not always indicate sexual desire. It can simply mean strong feelings, emotions, or urges about anything, (the way someone today might say, “I am passionate about stamp collecting,” or “Hiking is my passion.”) as it does in verse 11. Bearing this in mind, how do passions of the flesh (about anything) wage war against our souls? How is abstaining from passions of the flesh a “spiritual sacrifice” (5), and why is it spiritually healthy to abstain from these passions? If we do not abstain from these passions of the flesh, but rather indulge them, what impact will that have on our ability to keep our conduct among the Gentiles (unbelievers) honorable? (12) What is the purpose (“so that” – 12) of holy living in an unbelieving world?

7. Explain how verse 1 and verse 12 are similar and serve as “bookends” for this passage (1-12).

8. Explain the connection God makes in this passage between holy living and evangelism.


Homework

Think about the various “spiritual sacrifices” you offer to God as a Christian. What is an additional sacrifice you could offer Him this week?


Suggested Memory Verse

(Every week of our study, you’ll see a suggested memory verse like the one above. You are welcome to grab the memory verse pic to use as your screensaver or wallpaper on your phone or computer, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it frequently, or use it in any other way you wish to help you memorize the verse.)

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 2

Previous Lessons: 1

Read 1 Peter 1

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review the housekeeping/helpful hints section and “Introduction to 1 Peter” section from lesson 1 (link above). Pull up the link to the maps for 1 Peter in that lesson, and locate the areas mentioned in verse 1. Who were “the elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1) and why were they dispersed?

2. Is the end of verse 1 the end of Peter’s sentence? (Take note of where sentences begin and end in this book to make sure you’re understanding what Peter is saying in context. Have you noticed he sometimes uses very long sentences?). Read the remainder of the sentence in verse 2, and examine the phrases “according to,” “in,” and “for”. How is each member of the Trinity (2) connected back to “the elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1)? What do the words “foreknowledge,” “sanctification,” and “sprinkling” mean or signify?

3. A word to watch for: imperishable. Peter uses this word three times in this brief letter, two of which are in chapter 1. Identify the verses in chapter 1 containing the word “imperishable”. What is being described as imperishable, and why does Peter emphasize its imperishability? As we work through 1&2 Peter, be on the lookout for the theme of imperishability.

4. Read verses 3-9. Now let’s take a closer look at verses 3-5 (which is all one sentence). What does the phrase “born again” (3) mean, and how does the rest of 3-5 revolve around this phrase? Who has caused us to be born again? (3) How would you use this verse to explain to someone that salvation is all of God? That we do not “decide” to be saved nor play even the smallest part in saving ourselves? What are we born again “to” (3)? “Through” (3)? “To” (4)?

Now focus on 6-9. What does the word “this” in verse 6 refer back to? What does this passage teach us about trials and testing? (6-7) What is the purpose of trials/testing? (7a) What is the goal or anticipated result of trials/testing? (7b)

How do verses 3-9 encourage Christians to “keep our eyes on the prize,” and what is that “prize”? How does this passage explain that our eternity in Heaven is the culmination or “outcome” (9) of our faith, the fulfillment of our salvation (5,9). What circumstances in the life of his audience would cause Peter to keep directing their focus to eternity? How could focusing on your eternity with Christ help you to endure suffering or persecution?

5. Read verses 10-12, and compare the ideas in these verses to Hebrews 1:1-2 and 2 Timothy 3:16. Who are the prophets Peter refers to in verse 10? Explain in your own words the idea this passage conveys. What does “they were serving not themselves but you” (12) mean?

6. Read verses 13-25. In two words, what is the main idea of this passage? (15)

What does it mean to “prepare your mind for action” and “be sober-minded” (13) with regard to being holy and pursuing holiness?

How are we to “be holy”? Make a list of the ways these verses mention: 13-15, 17, 22

Why are we to “be holy”? List the reasons these verses describe: 16, 18-21, 23-25

7. Verse 13 starts with the pivot word “therefore,” which means, “Because of all that stuff I just told you, here’s what you need to do.” (“So,” or “So then” at the beginning of a passage mean basically the same thing. Always watch for transitional or pivot words at the beginning of a sentence to help you tie the first part of the passage to the subsequent part of the passage.) The old adage, “Whenever you see the word ‘therefore’ in Scripture, you need to find out what it’s ‘there for’,” is a great little hermeneutical rule of thumb.

Summarize chapter 1 in a “hinge sentence”:


Homework

Think about an area of your life in which you need to “be holy.” Spending more time in prayer? Cleaning up your language? Being patient with other drivers? Write out a plan for pursuing holiness in this area of your life this week (and beyond).

1. List 2-3 specific ways you can “prepare your mind for action” and “be sober-minded” (13) to lay a foundation for holy thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

2. How can you “be holy” in this area? Review verses 13-15, 17, 22, think about how they apply to your situation, and list 2-3 specific holy thoughts, attitudes or actions you can employ.

3. Why should you “be holy” in this area? Review verses 16, 18-21, 23-25, and explain why you should pursue holiness in this area of your life.


Suggested Memory Verse

(Every week of our study, you’ll see a suggested memory verse like the one above. You are welcome to grab the memory verse pic to use as your screensaver or wallpaper on your phone or computer, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it frequently, or use it in any other way you wish to help you memorize the verse.)

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 1- Introduction

Welcome to our new study, Living Stones: A Study of 1 &2 Peter!

How can we live lives of holiness as the world, and even the church, become increasingly unholy? For the next several weeks we’ll work our way through the books of 1 & 2 Peter, and learn how Jesus is the Living Stone – our perfect example of holiness – that we are to build our lives and churches upon.

Our lovely title pic for the study was designed by Kati Champlin, who is a pastor’s wife in Montana. Many thanks to all of those who worked so hard on their entries for our title pic contest. You ladies were very creative and did some beautiful work! 

Terri Mobley

 

Lesley Hazen

 

Carey

 

Clare McNaul
 

(Clare pointed out the crosses etched into the rock. Can you see them?)

Debra Gartland

If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:

The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.

My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.

I will post a new lesson on the blog every Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog each week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.

I use hyperlinks liberallyThe Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.

All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.

You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).


Introduction to 1 Peter

Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…

Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.

Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.

What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.

What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?

What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.

When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.

So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of 1 Peter, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.

Read the following overviews of the book of 1 Peter, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:

Bible Introductions: 1 Peter at Grace to You

Overview of the Book of 1 Peter at Reformed Answers

Book of 1 Peter at Got Questions

1. Who wrote the book of 1 Peter? How do we know this?

2. Approximately when was 1 Peter written? What is the geographical setting of the book of 1 Peter? Here are some maps (scroll down to “1 Peter”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of 1 Peter.

3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of 1 Peter? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of 1 Peter.

4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of 1 Peter: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?

5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of 1 Peter?

6. What are some of the major topics of instruction in the book of 1 Peter? How do these topics relate to the theme of 1 Peter?

7. What are some ways 1 Peter points to and connects to Jesus?

8. What else did you learn about 1 Peter or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?

Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to grow you in holiness and in following the example of Christ as we study together Living Stones: A Study of 1&2 Peter.

Basic Training, Bible Study, Sermons

Throwback Thursday ~ Basic Training: Bible Studies and Sermons

Originally published January 25, 2019

For more in the Basic Training series, click here.

 

When I started the Basic Training series, I thought I’d be writing about foundational theological concepts and practices in Christianity. You know, like baptism or the sufficiency of Scripture. It never occurred to me that I might someday need to explain something so basic that most lost people could define it as well as (sometimes better than) many professed Christian leaders.

But the more “Bible” studies and sermons I take in, the more I think a remedial course in exactly what those things are supposed to consist of might be very beneficial to the church at large, and an unfortunate necessity for many pastors, teachers, and Christian celebrities.

I could be way off base here, but I’d almost bet that if you went up to ten random people on the street and asked them what a Bible study class is supposed to do, at least nine out of ten of them would answer, “Study the Bible.” If you asked those same people what a sermon is, you might get more varied answers, “It’s when the preacher explains what the Bible says,” or “It’s a pastor telling you how to be a good person,” (remember these are random, probably unsaved, people) or “A sermon tells you about God.” But I’m guessing none of them would answer, “It’s when a preacher gives a stand up comedy routine,” or “A sermon is mostly stories about the preacher, his family, and other people,” or “A sermon is when you watch a movie and then the preacher adds a few remarks at the end about what you can learn about God or life from the movie.”

Yet, that’s pretty much where way too many churches are these days.

So let’s take a look at what Bible studies and sermons are and aren’t supposed to be.

It’s All About The Bible

This is supposed to be a “duh” moment for Christians, pastors, teachers, and churches. If someone is teaching a Bible study or a pastor is preaching a sermon, the first thing he should reach for is his Bible. He is to be preaching or teaching God’s written Word. It’s right there in black and white in 2 Timothy 4:1-2:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

That’s a very solemn and weighty charge to pastors. In today’s vernacular, it’s almost like placing your right hand on the Bible, raising your right hand, and saying, “As God is my witness, I swear to God I will ______.” (and actually understanding the gravity of that and meaning it). God is witnessing this charge to you pastor – you’d better take seriously your duty to preach His Word.

And notice, there are only two times when a pastor is supposed to preach the Word: in season and out of season. When his people want to hear it and when they don’t. When he feels like it and when he doesn’t. When he’ll be persecuted and when he won’t. When it’s easy and when it’s hard. When it’s a pleasant, encouraging passage, and when it’s a passage that offends people. Pastors, and, by extension teachers, are to preach and teach the written Word of God in every sermon and teaching opportunity. Always.

It’s Not About the Preacher/Teacher/Author

There are a lot of awesome pastors, teachers, and authors out there who labor faithfully to rightly teach God’s Word to His people. I am unspeakably grateful to them and for them.

But let’s face it, there are also a lot of narcissistic gas bags out there who use the pulpit and the pages to pump up their already over-inflated egos by endlessly blathering on and on about themselves, their families, their friends, and their experiences. You can tell by the ratio of personal stories to Scripture who they love best and are most interested in.

I’ve read books and heard sermons that I walked away from thinking, “I know more about that pastor or author, his family, his trips, the charity work he does, and who his important friends are than I do about God and His Word.” (I’ll tell you this, he’s received his reward.)

Pastors, teachers, authors aren’t to preach themselves, they’re to preach the Word.

It’s Not About Gimmicks and Entertainment

A sermon series based on movies. A pastor riding a motorcycle into church. Ziplining during the sermon. Rock concerts and light shows. Raffles and giveaways of cars and other big ticket items. The pastor and his wife promoting a sermon series on sex. On the news. From a bed. On the roof of the church.

Pastors and teachers aren’t charged to entertain people or get them in the doors of the church and keep them there by any means necessary. Pastors and teachers are charged – with God as their witness – to faithfully preach and teach His written Word. Jesus said shepherds who love Him will feed His sheep, not entertain them.

Newsflash – the world isn’t going to find that interesting enough to get out of bed for on Sunday morning. Newsflash – That’s fine. The gathering of the church isn’t for the world. The gathering of the church is for the church – the people who have been saved out of the world and into the body of Christ – to give them an opportunity to worship the Savior they love with their brothers and sisters, to disciple them in God’s Word, and to equip them with God’s Word to go out and share the gospel with the world.

It’s Not About You, Either

The flip side of “it’s all about the Bible” is, it’s not about you. What does that mean? The sermon or the Bible study lesson should not teach us to look down in narcissistic navel-gazing, it should teach us to look up at God, who He is, what He has done, and what He says in His written Word.

Over the years, I’ve had the discouraging duty of reviewing various women’s “Bible” studies. Though some have been better than others, the theme running through the majority of them is “it’s all about you” – your feelings, your hurts, your ego, your opinions, your personal experiences. It’s evident in the way authors insert long stories about their own lives and base their ideas, agendas, and assertions on those personal experiences rather than on Scripture. It’s evident in the questions the reader is supposed to answer at the end of each lesson: “Have you ever experienced _____?” “How does ____ make you feel?” “If you could ____, how would you do it?” “What do you think others’ opinion of you is?”

Good Bible studies give you rightly handled, in context Scripture until it’s coming out of your ears, and then they ask questions like, “What are the attributes of God listed in this passage?” “Verse 3 talks about lying. What are some other verses that talk about lying, and how can we tell from these verses how God views lying and why?” “How does this passage point us to Christ?”

Is there a need for introspection during Bible studies and sermons? Sometimes. But the focus is not you and your feelings and experiences. The focus is on reflecting on the glory of God in the passage you’ve just heard, repenting of the sin the passage you’ve just read has convicted you about, obeying the command in the passage you’ve just heard, and things like that. It’s Bible-focused, driven, and governed, not me-focused, driven, and governed.

Context, Context, Context

It’s not just important to preach and teach the Bible, it’s important to handle the text of the Bible correctly and in context.

You’ve probably heard the old joke about the guy who wants God to tell him what he should do with his life. So he opens up the Bible to a random spot, closes his eyes, puts his finger down on the page, and looks at the verse he’s pointing at. It’s a New Testament verse: “Judas went and hanged himself.” “Hmm,” he thinks, “that doesn’t make much sense.” He shuts his Bible and tries the process again. This time, it’s an Old Testament verse, “Go and do thou likewise.”

We laugh at the silliness of this little story, but it hits frighteningly close to home for far too many pastors and teachers.

Perhaps you’ve read a devotional that quotes a Bible verse (or maybe even just part of a verse) at the top of the page. The author then goes on to teach on that verse or tell a personal story. When you look up the verse and read a little more of the chapter it’s in, you discover it has nothing to do with the author’s story or doesn’t mean what the author was teaching.

Or maybe you’ve sat in a church service where the pastor reads a verse or two at the beginning of the sermon and then basically closes his Bible and shares personal thoughts and stories for the rest of the sermon time that have nothing to do with the verses he read at the beginning. Or a sermon in which the pastor hopscotches all over the Bible (often using a myriad of translations) reading a verse here, half a verse there, in an effort to prove his homespun thesis or support the agenda he’s crafted.

Yes, technically, there’s Bible in all of those teachings, but none of those methods handle Scripture properly or in context. That’s called eisegesis, and it basically means reading your own ideas into the text of Scripture, or twisting Scripture to get it to say what you want it to mean.

The proper method of teaching Scripture is exegesis. Exegesis is taking a passage of Scripture in context, and “leading out” of it- teaching what the passage means. That’s nearly always going to require reading several verses from the passage to catch the reader or listener up on what’s going on in the story she’s just parachuted into.

Good pastors and teachers read and teach the biblical text in an organized way. When you sit down to study, say, a history book, you start at the beginning of the book and you work your way through to the end. You don’t start by reading two paragraphs out of the middle of chapter 7, then move on to the last three sentences of chapter 49, then the first half of chapter 1. That’s how people preach, teach, and “study” the Bible sometimes, and it’s just as crazy to read the Bible that way as it would be to study a history book, or math book, or science book that way, or even to read a novel or a magazine using that helter-skelter method.

Expository vs. Topical

This section is a brief, modified excerpt from my article The Mailbag: Expository or Topical Preaching: Which is better?.

For readers who might not be familiar with the terms, expository preaching and teaching is basically when a pastor preaches (or a teacher teaches) through books of the Bible from beginning to end carefully explaining what each passage means. (Ezra is an example of an expository Bible study.)

Topical preaching can have a couple of different meanings depending on who you’re talking to and what she understands the term to mean. Some people understand “topical preaching” to mean a sermon series, usually in a seeker driven church, that centers around something in pop culture. (For example, popular movies or the Olympics.) Normally, these sermons are very shallow, biblically – sometimes nothing more than a pep talk or self-help tips. This type of preaching and teaching is unbiblical, and if it makes up the bulk of the teaching at your church, I’d recommend finding a new church.

There is, however, a biblical form of topical preaching and teaching that can be very helpful, occasionally. If a doctrinally sound pastor sees an issue in the church that needs to be addressed, or a biblical topic to explore, there is nothing wrong with his taking a break from preaching through a certain book (or when he’s between books) to teach on this issue from the pulpit. (Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood is an example of a biblical, topical Bible study.)

In my opinion, the majority of a pastor’s preaching and a Bible study’s teaching should be expository with occasional breaks for (biblical) topical preaching and teaching as needed. There are a variety of reasons for this (more in the linked article):

• Expository preaching models for the congregation the proper, systematic way they should study the Bible at home.

• Expository preaching helps a pastor better preach the whole counsel of God.

• Expository preaching pushes pastors to tackle hard and unfamiliar passages as they come up in the text.

• Expository preaching should keep the Old Testament and certain books of the Bible from being neglected as much as they usually are.

• Expository preaching gives the congregation a better grip on the overall story arc of the Bible and the culture of the period being studied.

Expository and topical preaching are both helpful in their own ways, but the most important thing is that the pastor is “rightly handling the word of truth.”

 

There’s a lot of lousy preaching and teaching out there these days, but if you’ll look for good, solid biblical preaching and teaching (check the Recommended Bible Teachers and Bible Studies tabs above for ideas) God can use it mightily in your spiritual life to grow you to greater Christlikeness.