How Do You Like Your Bible Cooked?

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“If I hear one more sermon about how Abraham had faith, I’m going to run out of the room screaming!”

That’s a quote from a long time church member who was seriously done with surface level Bible studies.

Should the content of Sunday morning preaching cater more to new attendants or to committed children of God? Should we assign more weight to feeding the sheep, or attend the needs of those who are not yet sheep? Should we edify those of faith or should we appeal to those without it? Furthermore, how about people who have faith but very little interest yet in any deeper counsel?

Temperatures can run pretty hot over this issue.  Personally, I think the whole thing tends to create a false dichotomy.

There are potentially faith-nourishing elements for any man or woman of God in any verse of the Bible. Some of it simply comes down to the preacher who does the “cooking.”

You can take a chicken and present it a number of ways that appeal to people. You can showcase its behavior and anatomy, which would appeal to any red-blooded ornithologist. You could explore its species and reproductive efficiency, which would pique the interest of those involved in the poultry markets. But never forget the guy off the street who doesn’t know a Leghorn from a Rhode Island Red. He’s just looking for a nice bird deeply battered with a side order of fries and Texas toast. He has no interest whatsoever in any deeper knowledge of the chicken.

That’s the way I am with all of my fried chicken meals. Of course some folks don’t eat fried things, but there are still tons of options—you can get your chicken in a salad or in soup or on a bed of spaghetti. The point is, there’s one bird with multiple ways of presenting it.

Some churches schedule separate meeting times for separate levels of spiritual maturity. That’s fine, but I’ve seen that approach create its own problems.

In our church, we’re going to go with offering both milk and meat out of the same verse in the same meeting. That’s never easy. You can do it, but you can’t do it with equal intensity for beginners and advanced folk. You might end up preaching two different messages at the same time and turning the whole thing into an unfocused bowl of goulash.

That means we’re going to have to weight the message either this way or that.

For the last 6.5 months in 1 Corinthians, our emphasis has been on steak and potatoes—hard for young Christians to digest, but we’ve had a number hang in there. They tried to receive and understand because they love the Bible.

It was like my daughter when she was small, before she had very many teeth. She loved graham crackers, so she gummed them until they turned soft. Then she wolfed down the um…muddy little graham mess. That’s how she made solid food work for her.

Now that 1 Corinthians is coming to an end, we’re going to pick up gospel topics through the end of the year. As August approaches, we expect more new people to wander in looking for a church. Ohio State will start, and reel in new students. Families will move into the area. Most of the people we meet will have logged more time in front of Dancing with the Stars than in front of a Bible.

In other words, we’re expecting a bunch of immaturity to come our way. That’s why we’ll be giving more of a nod to milk, apple sauce, happy meals, peanut butter, and strained beets—at least until January, when we pick up again with the big boy food.

Seasoned believers shouldn’t be bothered. There’s nothing wrong with ordering off the kids menu now and then.

Solid food is for the mature (Heb. 5:14),  but milk can also be. I’m over fifty and I like to splash milk on my cereal. I also like it in cake batter. You never get away from some basic food products. Or, you’d better not get away from them.

Peter said, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Pet. 2-3).

I’m no longer a newborn infant either in my first or my second birth.  But my faith is not all grown up yet.  I have tasted that the Lord is good. I’m not too proud to have some milk with my cookies.

3 comments

  1. While I have to admit that I like to eat goulash … I agree it’s not the best strategy for Bible preaching. It’s also refreshing to realize that while a Christian’s appetite should change to appreciate solid foods … we will never get away from having milk in our diet. I like very strong black coffee .. but occasionally put some milk in it. And I cannot remember one time in my life and put something in my cereal besides milk.

    I like the direction of our church – Grandview Christian Assembly – too – http://www.grandca.info … it looks like our next big bible study could either be Exodus or Revelation.

  2. I love the comparisons in this blog and happy to see the future direction of our church.

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