Even preachers who consider themselves firmly committed to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, to expository preaching, and to the general principle of fearing God and not man can find themselves having to cry out, “Lord, I believe; help me with my unbelief!” from time to time.
Such has been the case for me lately. A while back I decided, after some careful consideration and prayer, that — Lord willing — the next New Testament book I would preach through would be 1 Corinthians. For many reasons, I believe this is the book for our church’s season of life right now. Yet I must confess I have some fears.
Before resolving to preach the book, I had for several years laughed to myself about the very thought of preaching through 1 Corinthians. Why would I want to invite a conversation on the issues that will necessarily come up by preaching verse by verse through that book?
What issues, you ask? How about the matters of church discipline and excommunication in chapter 5. Or what about one of the subjects most difficult interpretively and emotionally in the realm of Christian ethics, divorce and remarriage, which will make an appearance in chapter 7. And then of course we have to deal with women covering their heads in chapter 11. Not long after that matter is settled, we have to deal with the miraculous sign gifts in chapters 12–14 (perhaps we’ll have two services that Sunday morning: one for cessationists at 8:30, and one for continuationists at 10:45).
This list makes me shutter, I admit. These doctrinal issues push the recovering people-pleaser in me toward relapse.
So I ask you for prayers; specifically, please pray that I fear God and not man. I’ve already begun studying, thinking, meditating, and writing. Pray for the Spirit to direct my preparations, and pray that he will begin preparing the heart of every hearer.