There are some significant advantages to preaching sequentially through books of the Bible. Preaching a series on the book of Ephesians or the book of Ezra has a way of deepening people in their understanding of the Scripture. Practiced consistently over time and with an integrated congruity, those who listen will grow to develop a significant level of biblical understanding and fluency.
In one of the churches I pastored, I preached through the Gospel of Mark, the book of Genesis, the book of Acts, the prophecy of Jonah, the letters known as 1 John, and more. By moving intentionally from gospel to epistle to Old Testament, the people gained a comprehensive sense of the Bible. From my perspective, I never had to think about what I was going to preach on from week to week – and perhaps more importantly, I was never able to duck the tough issues.
For example, three months into my ministry, I found that my next text was Mark 10. This particular chapter features instruction on the subject of divorce and remarriage. Do you think I would have chosen to preach on such a subject so early in my ministry among those people. Not likely. And yet here if was. I could not avoid it. I was able to say to the people that this passage was not chosen deliberately because of any particular situations for which I was concerned. It was simply the next thing in line, so “if the text fits, wear it.” The response of the people to that sermon was quite significant. If I hadn’t been preaching a sequential series, that sermon and it’s impact would have gone wanting in my church.
I love the way that sermons in series build upon one another, making every Sunday just a little bit more than the specifics of that Sunday’s presentation. It reinforces the truth that Sunday services are not one-off entertainments. They exist, rather, within the life of the congregation – moments in the flow as the people together encounter God through his Word and in their experience. I love that as a preacher I can help to shepherd all of that.