Topic Driven or Verse by Verse…

Okay…this is a random question for the blog today…

When you go to church on the weekend do you prefer Teaching Series that take on real life topics through the lens of Scripture or do you prefer a more old school approach and just want to hear verse by verse, chapter to chapter Bible Teaching? When you answer the question include why.

It’s an interesting conversation and there is no right answer…it’s just different approaches to communication.


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11 responses to “Topic Driven or Verse by Verse…

  1. i find myself wanting a healthy balance because there are just some moments where you need to discuss a topic through the lens of scripture (world and life events, for example). i think churches that heavily weight one way or the other are doing a disservice to their congregation. walking the balance between two extremes is usually the best place to be!

  2. It seems like a small group bible study or discipleship type of thing is the right context for people to study verse by verse. You have to be careful about not make a verse say something it’s not when you do topical stuff though.

  3. I don’t think its “either-or”. There are dangers with each one. Topic-driven can become so topical there is little or no scripture and it’s just opinion and catering. Expository can become merely informational and lose the transformational. There are probably other dangers as well. We need the Holy Spirit to guide and direct both the speaker and the listeners.

  4. There has to be a balance. While there is a need for topic driven messages to help people navigate in a Godly way the trials of life, at what point do we grow beyond it being all about us and what verse will apply to “us” in that moment. Not that God doesn’t use specific verses to guide us through tough moments in life or durring victories but there needs to be a point when we are not looking just for the immediate solution to an issue but searching for a deeper relationship with God. Learning who he is and what he wants for our lives. I think we can forget about that when we focus too much on topic driven messages.

  5. I agree that a healthy balance of both is essential in winning and growing as many people as possible. Both help to shape and grow believers (and non believers) in different stages of life and spiritual maturity.

  6. I like both at the same time. Ex. If a pastor talks about life transformation from a relationship with God use stories like Saul to Paul or Moses. Then the passage can speak for itself not a pastor trying throw the Bible passages at a certain topic.

    One thing that I think this will help is it will teach people who are new to a relationship with God how to read the Bible. For if the pastor asks good questions from that story from the Bible, the people will learn to ask the same good questions as they read through passages.

  7. A church that leans toward heavy topical teaching will likely find themselves swimming in the kiddie pool for Christ. They will be more prone to having shallow faith and little Biblical backing. Growth comes from going deep into the word. While we don’t have to always go deep, we should be making it a point to have people open their bibles for more than a verse or two on a Sunday morning. Otherwise we risk being another “feel-good” church that all the non-Christians love, because while we teach great things, yet we never fully reveal the underlying text that supports what’s being taught.

    Hebrews 5: 11-14 tells us to move away from the elementary things of faith and grow roots in our faith (which means growing in God’s word). After all, what are we doing for the kingdom if those we disciple and pour into are still so young in their faith that they’re roots are pulled whenever they try and share the gospel with friends, family, co-workers, and perfect strangers?

  8. BTW, Kingraven is me, Chris Schroeder : )

  9. I largely agree with kingraven; my biggest concern with over-emphasis on “knowledge” is Phariseeism. Heb. 5:11-14 is a great reference that we should pay attention to, especially verse 14. A lot of knowledge-enamored folk say “meat” means the “meat of the word”; however, v14 says that the mature have trained themselves by use (or practice). So it’s just not knowledge but putting into practice what is taught by the word. Again, we need both, the word, and the practical experience of putting it to use.

  10. Good call, Ron. I didn’t speak to the action following information, though I do believe that is very necessary and encouraged from a Biblical standpoint (faith without deeds is dead). While I love the topic-driven sermons, they don’t tend to do more than inform the person sitting in a seat on Sunday morning. We want mature Christians that can fit into their briefs, not a bunch of adults sticking to their Huggies : )

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