Monday, December 10, 2012

Preaching Genesis 1-11

I've just preached through the first eleven chapters of Genesis this autumn. It was even more challenging that I had imagined when I set out on my quest. I hope that it's been useful and profitable for the congregation; I know I have certainly been stretched in tackling the creation, the fall, the flood, the genealogies, and Babel. It's challenging because:

1. We're in the Old Testament, which for many Christians (and sadly many preachers) is alien territory. The texts may not be as familiar; passages may be longer; and it might appear to be harder to make the connection to the twenty-first century hearer.

2. The passages may be contentious, with people leaping to particular positions on e.g. the nature of the days in creation; whether God oversaw an evolutionary creative process; the nature of the temptation in the fall; whether the flood was universal or local - and this is just a quick sampling of the issues off the top of my head, which leads to:

3. There's always more that could be said, so the preacher must ruthlessly whittle the material down to make the big point the passage is making, rather than following secondary or trivial matters and focusing attention on them.

Throughout the series, we've watched as God has remained faithful to his promises and purposes, even when our forefathers have messed up, time and again. It's been good to see how God had already begun to make promises relating to the arrival of his Son into the world right back in Eden, demonstrating practically that Jesus was ready from before the foundation of the world to come and die for us.

This week, I hope to review some of the books I read in preparation for the series - perhaps appropriately there may be six of them, with a rest on the Lord's Day!

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