One of the big benefits I've found from my time studying with Cornhill Scotland is learning from people who have spent a long time in pastoral ministry as students of God's Word. While that comes through in the classroom, where we spend a number of sessions working through Bible books, it is especially noteworthy when spending a single, full day getting the big brushstrokes of a book.
While I'm not going to begin to try and unpack the whole day here, there were some particularly helpful things that I figured I would share. Andrew Sach is a really, really good teacher and his insights into the book of Kings were really helpful. However, what I found most helpful were the things he had to say about studying the Bible and preaching in general.
How to understand the Bible
The way to understand a part of the Bible is to read it more times than you have.
So very often, we want commentaries or books to tell us what the Bible says. We want someone to show us how the points connect and how it works. Now, I make use of these things but, as I get more time in the Bible in order to prepare to preach, the clearer it becomes that the Bible works best when you're working at it. And the first step on that process is simply reading it more.
In fact, until that happens, a bunch, understanding just isn't going to come. The first time reading through a passage, I'm too busy trying to look for all the things that I don't understand. But as I keep reading and rereading and rereading, I'm able to see things I didn't spot before.
Major on the things the author majors on
Last year, I had an opportunity to preach on 1 Kings 6-7. It's a long section describing, in painstaking detail, the construction of the temple with an aside about Solomon's palace. The mistake that I made when preaching that passage was making more of Solomon's palace than the author does at that point. Now, the palace gets a significant amount of airtime but it doesn't get anything like the detail of the temple.
Because at that point, the narrative is about the glory of this people. God had fulfilled his promise both to the people and their king. Peace long enough to build a house for the Lord. Peace and prosperity in the land such that the surrounding nations marvelled that their God loved them this much.
There is another Book In A Day event coming up in April and I’m really looking forward to that one. When it comes around, I’ll be sure to share those sessions here as well. In the mean time, watch the teaching sessions on 1&2 Kings below.