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What style of preaching is best?

April 13, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

For this week’s post, I wanted to turn things around on you and ask your opinion on something:

What do you think of topical sermons?

Over the past three and a half years at NewLife, I have tried different approaches to preaching. For some series, I preach through a book of the Bible (e.g. Colossians) or the life of an important person (e.g. The Life of David). For other series, I stay more topical (e.g. Death and the Life after that, Why Believe?). My current sermon series, which I have called “Practical Christianity,” falls more on the topical side, in that each week deals with a specific topic (love life, parenting, work, money, etc.), but I am coming at it from the perspective of how to work out the implications of the gospel into each realm of your life (as Paul said in Philippians 2:12-13 – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose).

I am interested in your answer to this question because there are some churches that preach almost entirely topical sermons. In these kind of churches, for example, there will be a series on what the Bible has to say about money, followed by a series on parenting, followed by a series on conquering your fears, and then one on love, sex, and marriage. On the other hand, there are other churches that preach entirely verse-by-verse, going through one book of the Bible after another until you understand what it means and how it applies to your life today.

I see strengths and weaknesses in both approaches, but I am curious to hear what you think. Consider the following questions:

  1. Is one approach more “right” or “Biblical” than another?
  2. Has one approach helped you more in your spiritual growth than the other?
  3. What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of preaching topically vs. preaching verse-by-verse?

If you’ve got an opinion, please share your comment below.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:13-14)

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