In the second letter to his coworker Timothy, Paul says that “all Scripture” is profitable for teaching and for training in

righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16 ESV). Those two words—“all Scripture”—encompass the Old and New Testaments.


Some Personal Context

Since 2006, I have had the joy and immense privilege to pastor two Southern Baptist churches. And I have seen the blessing of God upon his people when the “word of Christ” dwells richly among them (Col. 3:16). I’ve been preaching the Word of God since age sixteen, and my first sermon was nearly twenty-five years ago. After becoming a pastor for the first time in 2006, I wanted to preach through as much of the Bible as I could, and at first, I preached primarily from the New Testament. In hindsight, I wish I would have preached more from the Old Testament. Yet those early years in pastoral ministry provided the opportunity to engage and exposit book after book in the New Testament.

Moving to Louisville in 2010 to enroll in the doctoral program at Southern Seminary, I didn’t return to pastoral ministry until 2012. Once I did, I intentionally incorporated much more of the Old Testament into my preaching schedule, though my practice of expositing books of the New Testament continued as well. By God’s grace, on May 22, 2022, I completed my exposition of the entire New Testament. This expositional journey took fourteen years of pastoral ministry at two churches (2006–2010; 2012–2022)—and it took 1,106 sermons. No one said preaching through the New Testament would be quick! But pastoring churches that had both morning and evening services allowed for more biblical passages to be proclaimed.

If you are responsible for preaching to an assembly, make it your goal to serve them from both the Old and New Testaments. The Lord has inspired sixty-six canonical books for the nourishment of his people.

Preach the Old Testament Narratives

Your congregation needs the narratives of the Old Testament. They need to see God’s working through the many men and women whose stories are told. They need to know and learn the names and narratives of Adam and Abraham, Samson and Solomon. Preaching through these stories can help listeners get a sense of the biblical storyline as well as notice the typological patterns that point to the Lord Jesus. The narratives don’t hide the blemishes of the biblical characters. As God’s purposes advance, they do so by his grace and his covenant faithfulness. Preach the Old Testament narratives.

Preach the Genealogies

Your congregation needs the genealogies of Scripture. A genealogy may have names you don’t see anywhere else, and it may be full of names that are difficult to pronounce. But the list of generations displays the faithfulness of God, whose purposes preceded and succeeded every name in the list. Generations come and go, yet the plan of God triumphs in the world. Of special concern for the biblical authors is the line of descent toward the Messiah. God promised a Son who would come, and the genealogies report the generational march toward fulfillment. Preach the genealogies.

Preach the Psalms

Your congregation needs the songs of Psalms. These are songs for every stage and status of life. The psalmists long for God’s help, pray for God’s justice, sing with hope despite the darkness, rejoice in victory, remember God’s previous deeds, give thanks in dire circumstances, and anticipate the coming of Israel’s King who will establish righteousness. Life is full of hardship and blessing, many griefs and undeserved goodness. These songs fill our minds with metaphors for Christian hope and confidence. God is our rock, our fortress, our shield, our defender, our king, and our rescuer. Preach the psalms.

Preach the Wisdom Texts

Your congregation needs the wisdom texts. Surrounded by deceit and delusion, we need the light and clarity of biblical wisdom. The books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs point us to God’s design and goodness for the world—so that we can fear the Lord and delight in his Word. We need to know how life typically works, how life nevertheless remains unpredictable, and how God can be trusted from start to finish. The righteous will suffer, but the Lord’s steadfast love and morning-by-morning mercy will be with us all the way, through every valley, and one day out of the tomb. Preach the wisdom texts.

Preach the Prophets

Your congregation needs the prophets. The Lord is sovereign over history. He has prophesied the future, and he brings it to pass. He raises up kings and empires, and he brings them down according to his providential appointment. We need the voices of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea to call us to right worship and righteous living. We need the voices of Jeremiah, Daniel, and Micah to tell us of coming judgment but also of future restoration and transformation. We need the prophetic visions to ignite our imagination with pictures of divine justice and the horror of sin. We need the warnings of Joel and Malachi that prophesy the future Day of the Lord—the day of Christ’s return to judge the nations and set all things right. Preach the prophets.

Preach the Gospels

Your congregation needs the four Gospels. In them, we behold the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus. We hear his many teachings, and we witness his many miracles. We ponder the titles of Son of Man, Son of David, and Son of God. We hear his claims to be the light of the world, the bread of life, and the good shepherd. By studying the Gospels, we are able to make many connections to the Old Testament, for the Gospel writers deliberately tell the stories of Jesus with Old Testament quotations and allusions galore. Here is the onward and outward. Through the obedience and suffering of the apostles, we see the power of the gospel change lives and impact regions.

This biblical history of the early church includes descriptions of their worship, and it provides many examples of their speeches and sermons. We see the perseverance of the apostles through opposition and persecution, and we rejoice at the spread of the Word through the ministries of people like Peter and Paul. Preach the history in Acts.

Preach the Letters

Your congregation needs the New Testament letters. The letters comprise most of the New Testament books, and they are written to churches or to individuals in order to provide instruction. The letters are rich in theology and application for Christian discipleship. Differing in size and written in response to a variety of occasions, the letters remain relevant and edifying for readers 2000 years later. The writers exalt Christ, build up his church, bring needed corrections, and emphasize our Christian hope for the future. Preach the letters.

Preach the Apocalypse

Your congregation needs the Apocalypse of John—the book of Revelation. Written initially to seven churches in Asia, the Apocalypse unveils the sinister principalities at work in the world, and it foretells the glorious return of Christ and the consummation of all things. As the last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation is also the capstone of the entire canonical revelation that began with Genesis. We behold the risen and reigning Christ who has authority in heaven and on earth. The people of God will be vindicated, and the raging dragon will be defeated. Christ will make all things new. Preach the Apocalypse.


A. W. Tozer once said, “Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

And if we believe that claim, how should it affect our preaching ministries?

We must bring our assemblies under the fullness of God’s revelation. Over time, we should guide them into all the different parts of Scripture, leaving no literary genre ignored or book unengaged. The blazing center of Holy Scripture is the Son of God—foreshadowed and foretold in the Old Testament, proclaimed and narrated in the New.