Most preachers do what most Christians do. They tend to stay in the familiar books of the Bible. The gospels, the epistles, and maybe some Psalms or well-known Old Testament narratives. But what about Nahum, Obadiah or Joel? What about Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, or even 2nd John or Jude? Here are 7 reasons to select a lesser known book for your next sermon or series.
1. It will be fresh for the listeners. They may be feeling full of your usual fare, so a trip into uncharted territory will be a refreshing and invigorating experience (as long as you preach well!)
2. It will be fresh for you. Ditto. You will find that once into the study, you’ll be so grateful that you took the plunge into another part of the canon.
3. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful. This means that you won’t come across a chunk of text that is of no value to you and your listeners. It’s all God’s Word and it is all applicationally useful in our lives.
4. It will reinforce to listeners that they can profitably spend time in the whole canon. They will see that the lesser known books are of great value in filling out our understanding of God, seeing how His people are to respond to Him, etc.
5. Moving into a different genre stimulates variety in your preaching. A different genre provides different forms and rhetorical features. You’ll enjoy the possibilities if you consider the many ways to preach wisdom literature or a prophet. Let the type of writing influence your type of preaching. Seek to do what it does, as well as say what it says.
6. It will inform your future preaching of the more familiar books. Typically lesser known books are further back in our Bibles. Once you have spent time in these books, you’ll have a greater sense of the informing theology of the later and better known New Testament books.
7. It will force you to truly prepare. Be honest, you could probably preach a series in Ephesians or Romans without having to break a sweat (although the series would be better if you did). But I’d wager that Joel or Nahum might put you to work from scratch (and to pray accordingly!)