Exegetical preaching has always been my Achilles heel, not because it is so difficult, but because I wanted to present the Scriptures in a way that was the most advantageous for the people in my care. One of the issues that I always struggled with was how easy it was for people to read a couple verses or chapters a day in their Bibles and never understand how those verses and chapters fit into the context of the epistle, gospel, or narrative from whence they came.
In our Christian sub-culture sometimes we, unintentionally, present things in ways that are counter-intuitive to our desired goals. If our goal is Scriptural understanding and fidelity, we need to be wary of presenting the Scriptures as stand-alone aphorisms. While making us more familiar with some Scripture, presenting the Bible in little, isolated parcels can easily lead us away from the authors intended point.
Christopher R. Smith’s article Chapter & Verses: Who Needs Them? in a recent issue of Bible Study Magazine is a fabulous reminder of not only how God breathed and divinely prepared the Scriptures are, but also how useful breaking up the Scriptures into chapters and verses has been for us. It is nice to also be reminded that, as useful as this delineation of the Bible into chapter and verse may be, we may in fact be doing the Word a disservice by feeling beholden to it. Sometimes it may be more important to be mindful of the authors natural structure.
I have a subscribed to many Christian periodicals over the years, and obviously some have been better than others. But I have to say, I have yet to pick up an issue of Bible Study Magazine that I haven’t found encouraging and edifying.