Preach the OT with Confidence

My greatest privilege as a biblical scholar is being called upon by a local church to come preach a sermon (or a series of them) to fill the pulpit, or as part of my home church’s preaching rota. My greatest frustration is finding the time necessary to adequately prepare those sermons.

If you have the same struggle, you need to consider investing in The Biblical Illustrator: Old Testament Collection. This 28-volume collection will save you hundreds of hours in the course of a year of preaching.

It will also raise the bar of your preaching significantly. Here’s how.

Suppose you’re assigned to preach another well-worn OT passage, such as 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. You are pressed for time. As somebody who tries to balance family, church, and a normal work schedule, you’ve set aside a few evenings to prep.

But every time you prep, you hit a fork in the road:

  1. Illustrate the text using funny stories from my last family vacation, from that amazing Netflix show everybody is watching, or from that time I did that thing in college that is kinda relevant.
  2. Bring some heavyweight content that will feed the people starving to hear the Word preached.

Let’s say you choose option 2 (good choice).

Now, you get to spend dozens of hours this week reading (or power searching in Logos) through numerous Church Fathers, Reformers, theologians of all ages, and cross referencing this a boss. Tell your kids you’ll play with them next week.

Or, you could open up The Biblical Illustrator: Old Testament Collection to the section on 1 Samuel 17, and find at your fingertips the outlines and illustrations and sermons of Augustine, J.C. Ryle, Moody, Spurgeon, and more.

Back to our example, here is an excerpt from this resource on 1 Samuel 17:34, where David protests to Saul that he is fit to fight the giant. Spurgeon remarks on the two-fold source of David’s confidence:

The confidence of David was grounded upon his own personal experience. You will notice that in his confidence there is a blending of the human with the Divine. Observe:

“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them”:—That is the human. 

“David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the hand of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine”:—That is the Divine side of it. 

Work for God with all your might, as if you did it all; but then always remember that “it is God [who] worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

How is that Philistine to be killed?  “By God,” says one. True, but not with out David.  “By David,” says another. Yes, but not without God. 

Put the Lord on the march with David, and you put the Philistines into untimely graves.

The best way to conceptualize the value of The Biblical Illustrator: Old Testament Collection is that, as you are writing up your sermon, a crowd of the greatest preachers in history sit clustered around you offering advice, suggesting outlines, and presenting application that is nothing short of timeless.

Stop preaching sermons on the OT that wouldn’t pass muster in a Sunday School class. Preach with authority, preach with the best, preach with the men whose sermons lit the church on fire with illustrations that are still relevant today.

Add The Biblical Illustrator: Old Testament Collection to your Logos library, and get out there and preach.

Written by
Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is the Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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Written by Tavis Bohlinger
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