10 Sermon Texts That Aren’t Usually Used for Christmas (But Should Be)

Another Christmas, another opportunity to capture imaginations with the beauty of the Incarnation.

While the Matthew and Luke narratives will always be wonderful for this, there are plenty of other passages in Scripture that can draw out themes and nuances often neglected.

Why not explore with one of these texts?

1. Genesis 3:15

Often considered the first Messianic prophecy recorded in Scripture, this verse finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus—the offspring of a woman, who eventually crushes Satan. No more let sins and sorrow grow / Nor thorns infest the ground / He comes to make his blessings flow / Far as the curse is found, writes Watts. Genesis 3:15 predicts the seed who would come to uproot the thorns and break the curse of sin.

2. Gen. 49:8–12

Toward the end of Genesis, Jacob speaks a word of prophecy over each of his sons. He promises Judah, from whom Jesus would ultimately descend, that the scepter will not depart from him. Jacob calls Judah “a lion’s cub,” and Scripture goes on to call Jesus the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). This unique passage offers an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ supreme authority, which he holds even when he is just a cub.  

3. Exodus 1:1–2:10

There are striking parallels between Moses’ infancy and Jesus’. Both are born in humble circumstances. Both escape murderous plots of evil rulers. Both grow up to lead their people out of captivity. This passage can help your congregation appreciate the way the Bible holds together, as well as see God’s sovereign hand in preserving a mediator for his people.

4. Exodus 16

This is the narrative of God providing manna and quail for Israel as they wander in the desert. God sends bread from heaven, and in John 6 Jesus explicitly refers to this story and calls himself the “bread of life.” God sent eternal bread to hungry wanderers in the form of his Son, making this Exodus event a rich foreshadowing. A preacher can capture the imagination of a congregation—and follow the homiletical example of Christ himself—by drawing parallels between the physical hunger of Israel in the desert and the spiritual hunger of all those without Christ.

 

5. Exodus 33:12–23

In one of the most beautiful scenes of Exodus, Moses pleads boldly and personally to the Lord for his presence. The Lord honors Moses by agreeing to reveal his goodness and glory—but not his face. In the Incarnation, however, God is fully revealed, and his presence is offered to all who receive him. This intimate moment Moses experiences with God is made available to all through Christ—but we will see him “face to face” (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 13:12).

6. 2 Samuel 7

In this famous covenant God makes with David, God promises that his offspring’s throne will be established forever. Eventually the kingdom divides and falls, and by the time Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on a donkey—several hundred years and two exiles later—the throne is still not established. So when the crowds shout “Hosanna to the Son of David!”, they are heralding this covenant: they are hoping in a king. Joy is bursting from under sorrow long held, because Hope has come. The Incarnation offers the same “thrill of hope” today.

7. Psalm 27

At the end of this psalm, David writes, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Christians today can repeat these words only because Christ has come and has promised to come again. Like Anna and Simeon, who in their old age finally beheld the hope they waited so long for (Luke 2:22-38), those who hope in Christ will not be disappointed.

8. Isaiah, various

Isaiah is chock-full of references to the coming Messiah. Chapter 7 speaks of a virgin who will conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called “Immanuel”—God with us. Chapter 9 provides a brief portrait of this Son-King, and it continues all throughout Isaiah, such as in chapters 11, 40–43, 49, and 58. Preachers could do a tour through Isaiah to fill out the portrait of the Messiah, and then juxtapose the majesty described there to the humility displayed in the manger, leading to a reflection on God’s wisdom in working mightily through humble means.

9. Angel appearances

Another interesting choice would be to preach on various angel appearances in Scripture. From the beginning of Old Testament history to its end—from Abraham all the way to Daniel—angel appearances tend to coincide with God’s revelation and rescue. So when angels burst onto the scene in Luke and Matthew, we know from past behavior that God is up to something big, something miraculous and merciful. Preaching through some of these angel appearances would build that sense of anticipation and provide texture to Jesus’ birth story. Consider Genesis 16, 19, 21, and 31–32; Deuteronomy 33:2 (see Psalms 68:17; Acts 7:53; and Galatians 3:19); 1 Kings 19; and Daniel 3 and 6.

10. Matthew 1:1–17 (plus vv. 18–23)

I’ve heard several sermons on this text that draw attention to the scandalous nature of Jesus’ family tree. The attention is justified. For one, it’s not common for genealogies in patriarchal societies such as Israel’s to mention women. It’s even more surprising, then, that when Matthew does, it’s to bring up memories that any family would rather forget, such as incestuous rape (Judah and Tamar, v. 3), prostitution (Rahab, v. 5), and adultery and murder (David and the wife of Uriah, v. 6). What’s the point of recalling such a sordid past? Probably to remind readers of God’s power to work beauty from ashes, to bring redemption from a family—and to the family—that desperately needs it. The genealogy provides an excellent opportunity to proclaim how the Incarnation means all our stories can be rewritten in Jesus.


Scripture is full of rivers and streams that flow to Jesus. These are just a sample of texts you can use for Christmas without bending them to be about the Incarnation. God bless you as you prepare your services this year.

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3 Ways to Start Studying the Bible with the Logos Web App

What’s the easiest way to get started with Logos—without getting overwhelmed? You can certainly install the desktop or mobile apps as most users do, but there’s an even easier and faster option: the web app. We’ll use it for this tutorial.

Here are three ways to get started with Logos. [Read more…]

Not Your Average Wordbook


The Lexham Theological Wordbook is a new breed of language tool, one built for any student of the Bible. Craig Bartholomew explains:

In a day in which seminaries and universities are loosening their hold on the biblical languages Lexham Press is boldly leading the way towards a constructive and thoroughly contemporary retrieval. The Lexham Theological Wordbook is a marvelous resource for scholars, pastors, seminarians, and for those whose knowledge of the biblical languages is limited. Scripture is given to us in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and we need this sort of help in excavating its riches. This Wordbook is based on the best current linguistic insights and will be a resource that I keep close at hand. The Wordbook is an ambitious and major achievement and should and will be used widely.

[Read more…]

Introducing a New, Free Version of Logos 7!

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Meet Logos 7 Basic: a free version of our acclaimed Bible software that puts biblical insights within reach of anybody with a hunger for God’s Word.

That’s right: free Bible software.

Compare translations, take notes and highlight, consult devotionals and commentaries, look up Greek and Hebrew words, and much more—all with the help of intuitive, interactive tools.

You can get started now—there’s no credit card required.

[Read more…]

Everything You Need to Know about Dynamic Pricing

BuildYourLogosLibraryWith Dynamic Pricing you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars when you upgrade to Logos 7.

If you read that statement and you’re thinking “Okay, but what is Dynamic Pricing?” then this post is for you. But even if you’re thinking “Yeah I already know about Dynamic Pricing. I just haven’t looked into upgrading yet,” then this post is also for you. Because if you own an earlier version of Logos, you could get started with Logos 7 for a lot less than you might think.

Here’s everything you need to know about Dynamic Pricing, and how it makes upgrading to Logos 7 a very sweet deal.

[Read more…]

900 Reasons (More or Less) To Consider a Logos 7 Base Package

With the latest version of Logos, there are lots of upgrade options to match your needs and budget.

But there’s still no match for the savings you get with a Logos 7 base package. Not only does a base package get you the newest Logos features, it also includes brand new books for your library at an incredible discount.

But maybe you’re happy with your current library. “I have plenty of books,” you say. “I don’t need any more.” That’s totally understandable!

[Read more…]

How I Learned to Love Greek Lexicons

learn-love-lexiconDuring my time in seminary, fourth-semester Greek was synonymous with “pain.” This “pain” took the form of two, massive exegetical papers, each 30 pages in length.

Those papers were seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stood in the way of any person hoping to finish their seminary degree. An exegetical paper is intimidating because the content to be covered is very technical, and the time expenditure to complete the task is great.

I remember very clearly working on a section in one of those exegetical papers: the diachronic word study. For those who don’t know, a diachronic word study is the process of tracing a Greek word’s usage throughout history from Ancient Greece to the New Testament, and on to the time of the early church.

One of the most difficult parts of this word study process was navigating the lexical resources we were tasked to reference in our paper. Lexicons are heavy tomes filled mostly with unintelligible scribbles in barely-legible sized font. There were so many abbreviations in these volumes, I felt like I needed a decoder ring to navigate effectively.

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Introducing Logos Bible Software 7

Logos Bible Software 7 is here

After nearly two years of preparation, Logos 7 has arrived! Our latest release represents the most complete Logos experience yet—with new tools to take you from that initial spark of insight to sharing biblical truth with others. We’ve made it faster to get started in Logos, easier to uncover essential biblical insights, and simpler to share what you’ve learned.

Like you, we’re passionate about studying God’s Word, and we know what it’s like to uncover something from Scripture that you just can’t keep to yourself. Even if you’re not creating a sermon or Bible study, biblical insights inevitably spill over into everyday conversation.

That’s what drove us as we created our latest release. Logos 7 is all about that process of digging into the Word, discovering biblical truth, and delivering what you’ve learned to the people you serve and love. More than any previous version, Logos 7 is fine-tuned for every step of in-depth Bible study, from start to finish.

New ways to start your study

Getting started in Logos is easier than ever with new Quickstart Layouts tailored to different types of study and core Bible study tasks. Just select a preformatted layout, and Logos 7 opens all the features and resources you need to begin your study.
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Of course, not everyone uses Logos to drill into one specific passage. Some of us study by topic or resource, and the new Courses Tool provides the perfect starting point.Choose from dozens of carefully designed learning plans that pull together key resources, media, and Logos features. You can even work through one of the Mobile Ed courses included in all of our Logos 7 Libraries!

 

 

New tools to deepen your study

We’ve created lots of new datasets, tools, and media for your Bible study—and made the ones you already rely on even better.

image03New sections in the Passage Guide take you straight to the most relevant information. See everywhere systematic theologies, biblical theologies, and confessional documents mention any biblical verse, and access grammatical information about any word in any Old Testament verse.

New datasets and Visual Filters help you customize your study. Build a browsable index for any resource in your library with the Concordance Tool. This new feature is perfect for Greek and Hebrew study—browse repeated terms and lemmas and quickly identify key themes in the text. Or link your English and original language Bibles using the new Multiview Resources panel. Click, and the Corresponding Words visual filter lights up the text with eye-opening patterns.

Make fresh discoveries with new interactive media. Explore a first-century tomb and learn more about the significance of the resurrection for the Christian life. Get a crash course in biblical manuscripts and textual criticism. Or sort and explore every miracle in the Bible with a new interactive—visualized in the “bubble” style of our popular Psalms and Proverbs Explorers.

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Find (and create) the right media, instantly. We’ve improved Visual Copy and added easy ways to search and browse all your media with the new Media Tool. Finding, sharing, and presenting the perfect image, video, infographic, or other media is easier than ever.

 

 

 

A new way to share what you’ve learned

Equipping preachers has always been at the heart of what we do. That’s one reason I’m so excited about Logos 7’s new Sermon Editor. Now you can write your sermon inside Logos with smart editing and styling tools created just for sermon prep. Sermon Editor even gives you a headstart on your sermon slides as you type, helps you create handouts, and formats your sermon manuscript or outline with easy-to-read speaking prompts.image01

This barely scratches the surface of what’s new. Take a look at everything we’ve made for your Bible study, and let me know what you think. I hope you’re as excited by Logos 7 as I am!

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In case you missed our live event, we’re replaying the recording! To replay the interviews with Logos experts and Logos 7 product demos, visit Faithlife.com/Logos.

Visit Logos.com/7 to learn more about our latest release.

Meditate on Scripture Every Day with This Free Tool

free verse of the day windows app bible

” . . . his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on his Law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)

There’s a big difference between reading the Bible and truly meditating on it. Reading the Bible—even studying the Bible—can too often become passive. We absorb the information with little reflection on how it should impact our lives, or become so immersed in its exegetical details that we miss the heart of its message. One cure for this is active memorization; another is surrounding yourself with Scripture—finding repeated opportunities to engage with and meditate on the same passage of Scripture throughout the day.

[Read more…]

[UPDATED] Notes Sync Maintenance

UPDATE:

We started performing maintenance on Notes sync during the U.S. holiday Monday, September 7th. We started Monday, September 7th at 2 PM PDT, and we originally expected the service to be offline until Tuesday, September 8th at 8 AM PDT, however, the process is taking about twice as long as our preliminary tests indicated. We now believe it will complete in the wee hours of the morning (PDT) of Wednesday, September 9th. Things are going well, just more slowly than we had expected.

ORIGINAL:

We will perform maintenance on Notes sync during the U.S. holiday Monday, September 7th. We plan to start Monday, September 7th at 2 PM PDT, and we expect the service to be offline until Tuesday, September 8th at 8 AM PDT.

You will still be able to create notes. They will be stored locally, but they will not sync up to our servers until the maintenance has been completed. During the maintenance, there will be an exclamation point indicating that there is an issue with sync; this is expected and it will remain until the maintenance has been completed.

If you have questions, please join the discussion in the forums.