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Today's Expositor's Quote is from John MacArthur:

Preaching verse by verse through books of the Bible is the most reasonable way to teach the whole counsel of God. If I am obligated to teach the whole new covenant message and all of the mystery unfolded, the only systematic way that I know to teach it all is to take it the way it comes, one book at a time from beginning to end. If I were to approach the goal of teaching the whole New testament in random fashion, it would be a hopeless maze to lead people through. On the other hand, if I am committed to teaching the Word of God systematically so that all of the revelation of God is brought before His people, the only way of doing that is to go through it one book at a time.

Also, the only effective way of seeing the significance of a passage is in its context. Going through an entire book sets the passage in its context on its widest, deepest, and richest level. . . . Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament was written as a collection of verses to be thrown into the air and allowed to fall back wherever they might. Rather, each book has a reasonable, logical, inspired flow of thought going from point A to Z, with all stops in between. Each was designed by the Holy Spirit so that you have the Holy Spirit communicating something powerfully and clearly in the whole letter: you dare not miss a single part!

If I received five letters in the mail one day, it would make no sense to read a sentence or two out of one, skip two, read a few sentences out of another, and go to the next one and read a few out of that, and on and on. If I really want to comprehend the letter - what is going on, the tone, the spirit, the attitude, and the purpose - I must start from the beginning and go to the end of each one. If that is true of personal correspondence, then how much more is it so of divine revelation.

John MacArthur, "Frequently Asked Questions about Expository Preaching," chapter 19 in Rediscovering Expository Preaching, edited by Richard Mayhue and Robert Thomas, p. 341.

[To extend MacArthur's analogy a bit, if I'm a young mother whose absent husband sends letters to the family, I might very well read selections from a variety of those letters to my youngest children. I can give them an overview of their father's character and teaching that way. But eventually I want them all to read and understand the entirety of the letters. So I join MacArthur in exhorting us all to focus the bulk of our preaching on the verse by verse exposition of the whole counsel of God - Coty]


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