5 Ways to Infuse Scripture Into Your Preaching
Begin with it. Start your message by simply reading the text you are centering the message around. Many pastors have a repeated key phrase they use at the start of each message, for instance “Open your Bibles…” or “If you have your Bible, join me in the book of…” This encourages the congregation to attach the Word to the message time. Be careful to avoid “diving board” scripture—reading a passage and then diving off into your message never to refer to it again. When you start with Scripture, let it set the tone and direction for the message.
Quote it. Recalling Scripture from memory is an excellent way to encourage the congregation to “hide the Word in their hearts”. When preaching on a concept or topic, it’s compelling to use a “popcorn” approach, quoting multiple verses that support the message point. Quoting these from memory is powerful, in that it conveys the Bible’s authority on the issue.
Worship through it. Work with your worship team to infuse Scripture into the musical and creative worship time. Bonus points for tying in verses from or passages related to the sermon. Asking members of the congregation to participate in reading or quoting Scripture is also an effective worship element.
Explain it. Don’t be afraid to pause in the midst of reading Scripture to explain a verse, word or passage. A pastor should convey a love, reverence and respect for God’s Word. It’s why the Word is not “read” but “handled”. We want people to not just hear it, but to grasp it. Don’t leave a congregation wondering what a certain Scripture meant, or if or how it might apply to them. Unpack it.
End with it. Closing the message with Scripture brings the listener back to God’s Word as the central operator of the sermon. Remember that God’s Word draws men to itself—it’s a living, breathing entity (spiritually) and should be treated as such. Our words, however artfully decorated and flourished, will never have the lasting impact of the Bible. If you can leave people with one mental nugget as the sermon concludes, let that be God’s thought from His Word.
Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt.