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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Holy Cow!

Dan Phillips emailed me to tell me Justin Taylor had linked to my post highlighting how John MacArthur finished preaching the NT after 42 years of ministry.

Preaching the Entire New Testament Verse-by-Verse

Wowzers.

I've been linked by Challies and Pyro before, but Justin Taylor is like hitting the big times.

To put it into perspective, it would be like getting invited onto the Tonight Show and sitting on the couch between Johnny Carson and George Gobel.

One clarification:

I had written in my original post,

To our knowledge here at Grace, this hasn't been done in over a hundred years or more. The one person that comes immediately to my mind is John Gill, who preached through both the OT and NT, but that was in the 1700s.

Several commenters here, and at Taylor's blog, took umbrage with my statement. A few noted J. Vernon McGee, Calvary Chapel founder, Chuck Smith, and even W.A. Criswell, who also preached through the entire NT within the last 100 years.

If I could be a bit more specific, what I have in mind is detailed exposition. Though it is true these men may have "preached" through the NT, when you consider their catalog of sermons, they don't have nearly the depth of exposition that MacArthur presents. If you think about it, John took 8 years to preach through Matthew. Ten years to get through Luke. Plus, he taught a book in the morning and a different book on Sunday evenings. He preached anywhere from 50 to 70 minutes depending upon the subject matter.

McGee goes through the entire Bible in 5 year rotations. His teaching could be classified as more of a survey than exposition. I would say the same about Chuck Smith as well. He doesn't do verse-by-verse, and in many cases covers entire chapters at a time. I haven't listened to Criswell, so I can't really offer an opinion as to the level of depth he gave his messages. Remember, I did qualify by saying "to our knowledge."

Having thought about it a bit more, the only other preachers I can think of who gave the level of exposition John did was S. Lewis Johnson, but if you check his catalog available on-line, he didn't preach the entire NT, and James Montgomery Boice of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, but the Lord took him before he could complete the task.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Lynda O said...

Agree. I had thought of McGee, but realized he did it very quickly, not thoroughly. I've heard that about Criswell, but perhaps they don't have all his sermons online (or I haven't found where they all are). MacArthur's series were extremely thorough, though perhaps with too much repetition from week to week. When I've tried listening to his Matthew and Luke series, one sermon right after another (no week long gap between), it was just too repetitive -- often I'd have to jump 20+ minutes ahead to get to the new material, he had that much review in each sermon.

True, S. Lewis Johnson did not preach through all of the New Testament -- I wish he had, but at least some of their other preachers at Believers Chapel have filled in some of the gaps. But SLJ did preach through many of those OT books that MacArthur has not done, including a long series on the life of David, plus Isaiah, Daniel, and all but two of the minor prophets.

1:16 PM, June 15, 2011  
Blogger Chris Poe said...

Fred,

That's definitely a coup getting linked by JT. If you keep up the good work, maybe Dr. Mohler will link to one of your posts in the future. :)

Thanks for clarifying. When you emphasize "verse by verse" that does narrow it down a bit and highlights the nature of the achievement even more.

I think what is remarkable about John MacArthur is that his preaching is thorough yet still quite accessible and understandable to those who have little Bible knowledge.

There have been some preachers whose expositions have been so thorough that they would have been doing good to preach through half of the NT. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expositions of the Sermon on the Mount, Romans and Ephesians come to mind. IIRC there were Puritans who would spend decades in one book, like Hebrews. (Specific examples escape me at the moment. It wasn't unheard of for them to preach for 2+ hours either!) There have been others like Maclaren who preached through large portions of the OT and NT but apparently not through the NT as a whole.

If anyone has ever listened to Criswell they will know that he had a different style and approach than Dr. MacArthur. I haven't listened to a ton of messages, but some of them are pretty thorough, although perhaps not as consistently as thorough as MacArthur. (It was MacArthur's mention of him in "Masters Plan for the Church" that got me interested in listening to him a few years ago.) It definitely wasn't a running commentary as is the case with some would be expositors. Unfortunately, the search function on the Criswell Sermon Library website leaves a lot to be desired when searching by passage.

I don't know how anyone could preach through the whole OT without doing at least some of it by chapters or lengthy passages at a time.

2:36 AM, June 16, 2011  
Blogger Lynda O said...

I don't know how anyone could preach through the whole OT without doing at least some of it by chapters or lengthy passages at a time.

Has anyone ever done that -- preached through the whole OT in expository style? Some church sites have sermons that cover a lot of the OT books, but I don't know of any preachers that have taught through all of it. Yes, some OT books -- for instance, 1 Chronicles -- really cannot be exposited in the verse-by-verse method.

9:12 AM, June 16, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

As I understand it, John Gill did. But he was at his church 55 years or so. The commentaries supposedly reflect his work.

9:22 AM, June 16, 2011  
Blogger Lynda O said...

Okay, thanks. I have John Gill's full Bible commentary in my Bible software, but didn't know it came from sermons through the full Bible.

10:27 AM, June 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

Who's Justin Taylor?

12:38 AM, June 17, 2011  
Blogger James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

And still, nobody seems to care about all the false statements that Dr. MacArthur made in that sermon. Well, almost nobody. You care, Fred. Right? Because truth matters.

Email me and I will send a prepared list of 17 mistakes and inaccuracies in that sermon.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

2:44 PM, June 20, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey James. I would love to read your list. I'll even try to respond here on my blog.

My email is on the profile page.

Again, just keep in mind what you are alleging: John MacArthur intentionally meant to deceive. Not that he is mistaken or that you disagree and here's why, but that he lied. Is that your position or do you wish to clarify your statement?

3:20 PM, June 20, 2011  
Blogger James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Fred,

I wish to clarify your misrepresentation of my statement. (As I already stated clearly in an earlier e-mail,) my intent is not to question Dr. MacArthur's sincerity, only the veracity and accuracy of his claims, and the validity of the impressions he have to his listeners in his June 5 sermon.

Many statements made by Dr. MacArthur in his June 5 sermon were false, inaccurate, and misleading. Grace to You has a moral responsibility not to spread materials that they know will promote false, inaccurate, and misleading statements. Therefore Grace To You should withdrew the June 5 sermon from circulation.

If the personnel at Grace To You know that the June 5 sermon promotes numerous false statements and inaccurate claims, and they continue to promote it, then I might wonder about their commitment to truth. But for now, I am happy to refrain from assuming that Dr. MacArthur was not lying on June 5; I assume that he was merely speaking from ignorance.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

9:03 PM, June 30, 2011  

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