preaching study: genesis 11:31-12:9

In “preaching study” posts, I share study & reflection as I prepare the Sunday message . I welcome interaction in this process, so feel free to share your thoughts. All Scripture quotes are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
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After a hiatus from preaching (to guard time around my daughter’s birth), I’m getting back in the saddle this Sunday evening at our 5:30 contemporary worship service. This spring we’re preaching on the lives of biblical people. The series is called, “Characters Welcome.” I’m beginning the series by preaching on Abraham.

The main text will be the introductory text of the Abraham narrative in Genesis–Genesis 11:31-12:9 (links: NRSV, NIV, TNIV). In it, God begins what will be a recurring theme in his relationship with Abraham. God makes Abram (later Abraham) a person of journey and a person of promise. Abram is called to walk with God by faith and is given a promise from God.

A scan of the Abram/Abraham material in Genesis 11-25 brings to the forefront the following themes from the plot of his life: calling/vocation, journey, promise, and covenant. Many more could be listed (I’d be open to other impressions), but these are where I see myself focusing. It’s a challenge to preach a biblical person like Abraham’s life story–there are so many rich episodes that invite plenty of work dedicated to them alone. But I think there’s value in preaching it as a whole too. What you lose in having to give up diving into the various specifics, you gain in getting a sense of the larger picture.

That’s all for now. I’ll try and get one or two more posts on this sermon study and prep when I’ve got a little more study to offer.

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