Dear friends,

This Sunday we finish going through the book of Galatians. We went through this letter over fourteen weeks. I have never done this, but part of me always wishes that I could begin the series again, right away. I know I learn lots as I go through the book and I think, “Wow, I could do a much better job if I preached through the book now.” I usually read the book through several times before I begin preaching a series but it is one thing to read a biblical book and it is another thing to carefully go through it, noticing all the nuances and parts. So I learn as I go. By the way, I also make it a part of my daily devotions to go through the biblical book time and time again, one chapter a day, as I preach through the book. This helps me to remember the whole book as I work on part of the book.

There is a very old rule of biblical interpretation. In the Thirty-Nine Articles (written about 450 years ago), it is put as, “Don’t interpret one part of the Bible in such a way to make another part of the Bible repugnant.” Since the Bible ultimately has God as its author, then we should expect the different parts of the Bible to “fit together” in a way which is coherent and powerful. So, on one level, as I read a biblical passage to preach it, I need to have in mind what all of the Bible says. As well, as I preach on one part of a biblical book, it is important that I keep in mind the book as a whole and the book as a book with a beginning, middle and end.

You do not have to wait to master all of the Bible before you begin reading parts of it. The Bible is a big book, made up of two testaments and 66 books. We will always only be able to read a bit at a time. So, read. Knowing that God is the ultimate author and He knows we can only read a bit at a time! He still speaks and teaches through His word. But also remember that over time you may be able to read deeper as you become more familiar with the whole and all the parts.

Pray that I will teach and preach well! Pray, as well, for the interns who preach, especially Daniel Avitan who preaches most Wednesday evenings at Church on Wednesday. Pray that the Lord will lead us into all truth. Pray that He will deliver us from error. Pray that our preaching will help you and many others read the Bible well on your own and with others. Pray that our sermons and teaching time will increase people’s desire to know Jesus and read the Bible. Pray that people will want to know more of Jesus, not more of the preacher.

Next week we begin the Gospel of John. As with our series on Second Corinthians, there is a free, high quality resource for small groups and individuals to accompany the sermon series – found on the church website here   The hope is people will study the preaching text before I preach on the text. Please pray.

George +