Navigation #6

Why We Read from Both the Old and New Testaments Each Sunday

Responding to a “pew to pulpit” question:

Why do we read passages from both the Old and New Testaments each Sunday during worship?

First of all, it allows people to get exposure to greater portions of the Bible. If I were to read only one passage per Sunday, that might be someone’s only reading of the Bible that week. So, by reading two passages, we are offered the opportunity to learn and discover more about the Bible than one reading would provide.

That’s one of the main reasons it’s critical to read two passages, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

The reason I do not always preach on both and do not always connect the two is that sometimes the connection is a stretch. Preaching on just one passage allows me to focus and hone in on one particular area.

Second, I really like to expound upon and dissect a specific set of verses, or one specific topic or concern. This helps me provide more depth and meaning to it as opposed to just glossing over the surface. Plus, if I were to preach on both all the time, my sermons would end up being longer than anyone wants to listen.

At the core of it for me is that the Bible is our main authority of witness—one that strongly points to whom God is, what God has done in and for the world and how God desires that we live.

Creation itself is an immense gift, and so too are Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Now, not all of the answers to life lie within the covers of this ever-so-critical book. Yet that does not minimize its importance, nor how truly impactful it can be on our lives.

We should also remember that it is not the Bible that we are called to worship but God.

There are some avenues of God that we come to learn and know through our own personal experiences and our living in this world. Granted, it will not always be completely, nor will it always be fully satisfying.

However, by reading, studying and listening to sermons from the Bible we can begin to see God more clearly, understand ourselves and the world a little bit better and, we hope, retain a greater appreciation for God, for the Bible and for life itself.

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