Preaching Odd Texts

Preaching Odd Texts

Preaching Odd Texts 150 150 Andrew Hicks

I preached from a very odd text this morning. I preached from the passage that prohibits the boiling of a baby goat in its mother’s milk (see Exod 23:19; 34:26; Deut 14:21).

I had a lot of fun with it. My friend Rosemary offered some props to go with my sermon. [Don’t worry no goats were harmed in the making of this sermon! They were just yard decorations and a pot from the kitchen!] 

You can hear the recording of the sermon here. I’ve also blogged about this verse before [see here].

I love exploring these strange and sacred scriptures of ours. I was talking with my friend Terry today about how we tend to flatten scripture and make it all rather boring as if that somehow makes it more holy. I told her rather than smoothing out the oddities of scripture I find myself looking for the texture of the text.

We proclaim that God’s word is inspired, but we really tend to mean only those parts that are more comfortable, familiar, and domesticated to our imaginations. I would argue that even the parts of scripture we think we know are actually little known when all is said and done, but nevertheless we Bible-thumping Bible-believing Christians still tend to know very little of the Word we argue about so much.

We need to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Obscure and odd scriptures need to be preached from our pulpits because otherwise we are saying by our lack of engagement with them that they are less important than the rest of scripture. If all scripture is inspired then all of it is useful (2 Timothy 3:16). Preaching these odd verses does a few other things too:

  • Teaches people how to read their Bibles.
  • Exposes them to a wider variety of texts in scripture giving them a more well-rounded diet of the word.
  • Reminds them that our confidence is not in the scriptures themselves per se, but in the God who inspired and gave them to us.
  • Helps people pay attention – something novel always grabs attention, at least for a bit.

I dare you to preach from an obscure text in the pulpit. I dare you to not bore me to death with the greatest book ever written. I dare you to proclaim a more robust diet of the word of God.

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