3 passages I want to preach (but have been afraid to)


I’m going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: preaching is really hard. It’s a task that can (or should) make even the most confident man a little weak in the knees. One of the things that’s always freaked me out has been trying to choose the right passage to preach… What if it’s the “wrong” message for the church, or what if I do injustice to the text? And let’s face it, some texts are significantly harder to teach than others.

Here’s a look at three books I want to preach, but have been afraid to:

Obadiah. How many sermons on this book have you heard? Thanks to The Gospel Project, I think my kids have now heard more messages on it than I have (that being, one). But this book, despite being the shortest book of the Old Testament, is rich with gospel goodness, with its powerful reminder that the Lord is sovereign over all nations and that He judges all and He has made a way to escape His wrath.

Genesis. Specifically, Genesis 1. It’s not because I’m afraid to wade into the origins debate, but because I don’t want that to be a distraction from a larger point in the text: this passage is primarily about Jesus—His power, His wisdom, His character and His redemptive work. And too often the origins debate overlooks this important truth. (This, incidentally, I’ve been thinking about coupling with Romans 1.)

2 John. This one is challenging in some ways simply because it’s so short (13 verses!). But again, it’s packed with richness that we can overlook due to the letter’s length. But just think about 2 John 9-11:

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

This is such a strong warning from the apostle John—if you don’t believe what He said and do what He commands, you’re not Christian. Worse, if you allow false teachers to be among you, you’re indicted along with them. That’s heavy stuff, isn’t it?

So, those are a few of the passages I’ve wanted to preach, but have been afraid to—at least up until now. I’m working on my summer preaching itinerary now (and if you’re interested in having me come to your church, drop me a line!), and now I’m praying about the texts to preach—and specifically whether or not to teach some of these. It’ll be interesting to see where He leads.

What are some books you’ve never heard preached? Pastors, what are some books you’ve wanted to preach but have shied away from?

8 thoughts on “3 passages I want to preach (but have been afraid to)”

  1. Nitoy Gonzales

    great observation…i think i preached obadiah a year ago or something…

  2. Michelle Dacus Lesley

    I teach a women’s Sunday School class, and, instead of the standard Sunday School literature, we’re doing a chronological read through of the Bible this year, so I’m looking forward to teaching on Obadiah and the other minor prophets in a couple of months. I hate that we neglect them so much in church. They really set the stage for the Messiah by showing us the wrath of God, His forbearance, and the lengths He would go to to redeem us.

    I’ve never heard anyone preach through Song of Solomon or any of the census passages (Numbers 1, for example). I’d like to hear a doctrinally solid pastor handle those passages with a tie in to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 to show that every jot and tittle of Scirpture truly is profitable and useful.

    I’ve also never heard a sermon on Jude, but I’d like to. It’s a great little book that people desperately need to hear these days.

      1. Michelle Dacus Lesley

        I always find writing easier than teaching/speaking :0) I’ll have to get a copy of “Contend.” I didn’t realize it was specifically on Jude– that’s one of my favorite books.

  3. I taught Obadiah this spring and asked the same thing, how many ladies’ bible study lessons have you heard on Obadiah (or any of the minor prophets for that matter)? It was a rich and challenging time in the Word for our group!

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