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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Joy of Joshua

This last Sunday, I preached my final message from the Book of Joshua. It was "bitter-sweet" as I don't believe I have enjoyed preaching through a book as much as Joshua. The final breakdown of the Book of Joshua (for LIFEGroups) was:
    27 sermons
    24 chapters
    658 verses
    129 cross references
    within 31 books of the Bible
I didn't just enjoy preaching through Joshua. I didn't just enjoy the content of Joshua, or the lessons available. I truly LOVE the book of Joshua now. I completed this book with a greater affection than any other book I've ever preached through. As I tried to think about why, I came to a couple conclusions:
    1. I've spent most of my ministry life not preaching through a book. Ironically, I did more expository work in Sunday School classes than from the pulpit. For years, Ecclesiastes was my absolute favorite book. Looking back, that's probably because it was the only book I walked through with my students the first five years or so in ministry.
    2. When I did preach through a book, it was with students, rather than many generations. Nearly five years ago, I finally caught on and started working through books of the Bible. I've preached through Judges, Galatians and half of Luke. Of course, this directly correlates to when students' lives started becoming sanctified. It was wonderful, however, it is limited when your teaching is to only one generation than seeing the application and relevancy of the text to all generations.
    3. When I became an expository pulpit preacher, I was team teaching. I kind of eased into expository teaching by having a "co-teaching" opportunity with Daniel Pierce. I had the privilege of preaching through 1 & 2 Samuel and Acts with Daniel. It was a joy to tackle books of the Bible as a team, but it also meant there were exciting passages in each book that I didn't preach.

Though preaching through Joshua was different than the above three experiences, I don't think that is the major reason for my affection. The greatest difference by far was done to me. Today, I am not the same guy who first started digging into the book of Joshua...and Joshua has played a large part in that transformation.

Our evening classes begin with a corporate time of singing and sharing. I asked people to share their favorite book of the Bible and to share why. From several, the answer came out, "the book I've been studying most recently."

I trust that will be the case. (I know just from studying Romans 1:1-3 with our elders has caused a sermon on that text to burn within me.) Someone shared that 1 John is their favoite book because, "pretty much every issue regarding salvation can be answered in that book." He's probably right. And I imagine that at this time next summer, 1 John will be my favoite book too.


  • At 8:06 AM, Blogger Darby Livingston said…

    Danny, I have preached through several books of the Bible in the last six years. It is amazing how every book I've preached through strikes me as critical to the faith. There are no "light hitters" in the biblical lineup. I appreciate your devotion to preaching through books of the Old Testament as well as the New. Many Christians have no idea what to do with the Old Testament. It's often because pastors don't either. Keep up the good posts.

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Pastor E said…

    Great post Danny. My hope is that more preachers will begin to preach this way in their pulpits. I began this as well in my preaching over a year ago and will never go back! It has been a tremendous discipleship tool at our church.

    John MacArthur says that when you begin preaching the Bible that way - be ready to change your theology in some areas - as the truth of God's Word will expose misconceptions and mis-truths in our own lives.


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