Bible passages which are never used as sermon topics

MooMoo Kerygmania Host
There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons. One that struck me recently was this one.

What are some that you have noticed?
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  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Moo wrote: »
    There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons. One that struck me recently was this one.

    What are some that you have noticed?
    [url=https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Ezekiel 23:20"] Ezekiel 23:20[/url] is worth an honourable mention, surely?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Bugger. Can't make the URL work. If someone can fix...be most grateful
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    This one is a bit TMI. Deuteronomy 23:12-14 (KJV, Bible Gateway).

    It seems God has particular opinions on latrine matters, because he walks in the camp and thinks the ...waste... is gross.

    LOL.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    When I was in my intro to preaching class the well-meaning lecturer asked us all to bring in a text that we would like to hear preached on. People brought things like John 3:16 or Psalm 23. They were all put into a hat and we had to pick one out. I picked the circumcision of Moses! We were then given 5 minutes to come up with a 5 minute message, and because things were done alphabetically, I was first. There is nothing that cannot be preached on, though you may not like the message!
  • Of course, the lectionary skips over a lot of the Bible so most of us are very unlikely to be asked to preach on much of the Bible that simply doesn't get read on Sunday mornings. But, even with the passages set in the lectionary there are many that a preacher is very likely to ignore in favour of one of the other texts for the day ... not necessarily because it's impossible to preach from, but because there are two sides for any sermon - one of which is the needs of the congregation, and many passages would be of limited value to most modern, western congregations.

    To avoid preaching on irrelevant passages is understandable, better to preach on something relevant. To avoid preaching on something because it will make the congregation uncomfortable, something that challenges them to do something about the injustices in our world (especially those they benefit from) is an entirely different issue.
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Ezekiel 23:20 is worth an honourable mention, surely?
    Of course, no one would preach on a single verse. Now, the whole chapter could lead to a very challenging sermon, especially to a wealthy western congregation. The prophet pulls no punches in portraying the unfaithfulness of his people, both northern and southern kingdoms, who have pursued other gods and alliances with other nations since He lead them out of Egypt. He leaves no doubt about how disgraceful their actions are, and nor does he neglect to describe the results of chasing after foreign gods and nations. A preacher could very easily challenge a congregation to assess what they follow and rely on, where they find their strength and security. Is it in God? Or, is in the things of the world, the equivalent of the apparently strong and virile warriors of Babylon?

  • Of course, no one would preach on a single verse.

    Some of the "great preachers of the past" did precisely that! I think there is a place for doing so (a) if it's a very significant verse (such as one of Jesus' pithy statements) and (b) so long as it's set within its context and linked to other Scripture passages.

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I've quite often made the comment that because the full time clergy normally have some time off after Christmas, it's only Readers and non-stipendiary clergy that ever get lumbered with having to preach when the readings are the Massacre of the Innocents, or in 2017 when the 1st of January fell on a Sunday, the Circumcision. At our place, both challenges have been taken and preached on.

    But I've never heard a sermon on Ezek 23:20 - or for that matter Song of Songs 4:5 or 1 Sam 25:34 as it is in the Authorised Version.
  • I'm a minister and I've preached on the Innocents more than once, but not the other passages.
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    Moo wrote: »
    There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons. One that struck me recently was this one.

    What are some that you have noticed?

    The one you cited seems like first class Israelite propaganda against people they really didn't like. A Bit like Irish, Belgian, French, Jewish, Scottish, Welsh etc. racist jokes.

    I'm surprised there isn't a sermon in that somewhere.

    I rarely hear anything ever preached about Song of Songs. I would enjoy hearing an in depth exegesis of its hidden, metaphorical interpretation. Nudge, nudge, win, wink, as the Monty Python team might say.
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    This one is a bit TMI. Deuteronomy 23:12-14 (KJV, Bible Gateway).

    It seems God has particular opinions on latrine matters, because he walks in the camp and thinks the ...waste... is gross.

    LOL.

    The irony is that in the dark ages the Jewish parts of town did not suffer disease the way the 'Christian' bits did, because the Jewish bits had better hygiene. This caused the 'Christian' bits to blame the Jewish bits for causing the trouble, (whereas they were causing it themselves by living in their own s__t), so the 'Christians' often persecuted the Jews because the Jews were not sh__ty enough for them. There's no pleasing some folks, is there?

    There's probably a sermon in that too, somewhere.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Moo wrote: »
    There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons. One that struck me recently was this one.

    What are some that you have noticed?
    [url=https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Ezekiel 23:20"] Ezekiel 23:20[/url] is worth an honourable mention, surely?

    That's set for Ascension Day this year!
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    Moo wrote: »

    I rarely hear anything ever preached about Song of Songs. I would enjoy hearing an in depth exegesis of its hidden, metaphorical interpretation. Nudge, nudge, win, wink, as the Monty Python team might say.

    I did that, almost verse by verse, one evensong.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    I'm a minister and I've preached on the Innocents more than once, but not the other passages.

    I've done both the holy innocents and the circumcision
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    [quote="Enoch;28243".

    But I've never heard a sermon on Ezek 23:20[/quote]

    not in the lectionary
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    1 Sam 25:34[/URL] as it is in the Authorised Version.

    There's a wondeful Youtube sermon on how America is no longer Christian because its men tend to sit when urinating - not a spoof either.
  • Leo wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Moo wrote: »
    There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons. One that struck me recently was this one.

    What are some that you have noticed?
    [url=https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Ezekiel 23:20"] Ezekiel 23:20[/url] is worth an honourable mention, surely?

    That's set for Ascension Day this year!

    Eh? TextWeek doesn't list it. Acts 1, Ephesians 1, Luke 24
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    Leo wrote: »
    There's a wondeful Youtube sermon on how America is no longer Christian because its men tend to sit when urinating - not a spoof either.
    There was a link to that sermon on the old Ship. (It might still be there, but I couldn't find it.)

    The clown in question is "Pastor" Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, not far from here. Two of his flunkies, I mean missionaries, just knocked on my door yesterday (I didn't answer) and left their calling card. I tore the card in half and left it in the basket I have hanging on my door in the hope that they'll be back.

    "Pastor" Steve thinks all gays should be put to death, he prayed for the death of President Obama, denies the Holocaust, and after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting he said it was good that there were 50 fewer pedophiles in this world. I could go on, but I'm about to vomit. (I really need that old emoji.) The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have designated FWBC as a hate group.

    This jerk makes Fred Phelps look like a teddy bear.

  • If anyone actually wants to revisit the 'pisseth against the wall' sermon you can watch it here
  • How many of these passages people are quoting are passages that they think actually should be preached on?

    With that said, are there passages of the Bible or even large portions of it that really don't need to be preached on ever or even read aloud in church ever? Or, taking the opposite view, should every part of the Bible, even the most obscure, be read in church and/or preached on from time to time?
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Re Pastor Steve:

    Is this the guy who burned a Koran years ago? Or another crackpot?
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Re Pastor Steve:

    Is this the guy who burned a Koran years ago? Or another crackpot?

    That was Terry Jones (not the Monty Python one!).

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    I've quite often made the comment that because the full time clergy normally have some time off after Christmas, it's only Readers and non-stipendiary clergy that ever get lumbered with having to preach when the readings are the Massacre of the Innocents, or in 2017 when the 1st of January fell on a Sunday, the Circumcision. At our place, both challenges have been taken and preached on.

    But I've never heard a sermon on Ezek 23:20 - or for that matter Song of Songs 4:5 or 1 Sam 25:34 as it is in the Authorised Version.

    Why is preaching on the circumcision a challenge? Off the top of my head, I can think of 2 easy starters - this was the first time that Christ's blood was shed for us (ie, his incarnation was very real, he had indeed become fully human); and at the circumcision he received his name of Jesus, ie Saviour.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Gee D--

    Possibly because many people consider it barbaric torture and child abuse? (For any baby, not just Jesus.)
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Gee D--

    Possibly because many people consider it barbaric torture and child abuse? (For any baby, not just Jesus.)

    Yes but is that any reason to not preach on the subject, any more than it would be for not preaching on the crucifixion?

    It think any objection would be more likely to be on grounds of prudishness and sensitivity.

    But that is actually the point about circumcision that needs to be preached on. Sensitivity! and our natural human proclivity to avoid its effects, (particularly the spiritual aspects), on our lives, at all costs.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Gee D--

    Possibly because many people consider it barbaric torture and child abuse? (For any baby, not just Jesus.)

    But that does not mean it can't be the subject of a sermon, the torture aspect in particular could be built in.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Depends on what you want to say about it.

    I understand the cultural and religious aspects. But I and many other people consider any circumcision of children to be evil. By definition, it's not consensual. It's an amputation. There's no medical need for it.

    So if someone preaches on it, there's a good chance that many in the congregation will feel the same. Whether or not they speak up is another matter.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'm not following you. The sermon should not be one to promote/disclaim circumcision beyond noting that it was the Jewish practice then as much as it is today; that the infant Jesus was circumcised in accordance with that practice.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    I'm not following you. The sermon should not be one to promote/disclaim circumcision beyond noting that it was the Jewish practice then as much as it is today; that the infant Jesus was circumcised in accordance with that practice.
    But, that would be the start of a sermon. The meat of the sermon needs to apply that for the congregation. What would it mean to them?

    A historical/cultural observation that Jesus was circumcised in accordance with cultural practice doesn't say anything. Does it mean we should blindly follow current cultural practices? The coming-of-age practice of getting blind drunk? Give your son his own gun? How about following fashion trends and getting piercings and/or tattoos?

    My approach would be to consider the role of circumcision within the covenantal relationship between God and His people, A sign of faithfulness by the people of Israel. Which leads to asking what are our signs of faithfulness (eg: baptism, but more importantly our actions towards each other and others - "by this will all know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"), and also how we show that as a community - noting that circumcision was a sign of membership of the people of God, a sign of the community (parents and extended family at the least) rather than personal faith.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    I wasn't suggesting treating the circumcision in that fashion at all, but rather as its being a sign of the Son's incarnation, his bleeding as any other child would bleed, his feeling the same pain etc.
  • Aye, that could work too. I was speaking for myself, and I tend to preach a message that challenges the congregation to assess who they are, what they do, in the light of the gospel. Your approach leads to a sermon on the Incarnation, and we have a lot of those (especially around Christmas) so I would look for something different. There's only so many times a congregation should hear the same message in a year.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    And a foreshadowing of His ultimate shedding of blood on the Cross.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Leo wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Moo wrote: »
    There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons. One that struck me recently was this one.

    What are some that you have noticed?
    [url=https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Ezekiel 23:20"] Ezekiel 23:20[/url] is worth an honourable mention, surely?

    That's set for Ascension Day this year!

    Eh? TextWeek doesn't list it. Acts 1, Ephesians 1, Luke 24

    It's in the compilation by The Rev. Richard Losch of Coldwater, Ala., from compilation "When will it be read?" by The Rev. Richard Losch of Coldwater, Ala., Vanderbilt Library that used to be online.
  • AnselmAnselm Shipmate
    Preached through the whole of Ezekiel, Song of Solomon, all of the gospels. Didn't lead to any revival for some reason. Do I get a certificate or something?
  • Does anyone preach on "offering food to idols" passage? It was very relevant for Christians where we lived in West Africa a number of years ago.
    You never know what passage which seems unappetising (sorry for the pun - and the spelling!) to us, may be relevant elsewhere in the world.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I can see that in the West African context, but I've heard it drawn on as an example or aid to thinking through other issues in different contexts.

    I've from time to time commented that 50+ years ago, 1 Cor 14 and the part of 1 Cor 12 before the 'body' passage were regarded as just mystifying and as irrelevant as much of the regulations relating to the different sorts of sacrifices in Leviticus. One can tell from translations from that era or earlier that even the scholars did not really know what the passages were talking about. Now, even those who aren't very keen on things charismatic, at least know what they mean and to whom they might be important.
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    There are lot of numbers in Numbers, which are quite hard to preach on. I've heard sermons about the numbers, but not on them. Even reading those chapters is quite tedious.

    There are also large sections of the minor prophets which are rarely read. I think there are lots of chapters and probably whole books that I've never heard a sermon about.

    We tend to only read a selection of the minor prophets during Advent, so usually that's quite lopsided even when we do read them.

    In some lectionaries, it seems that readings come up more regularly from some of the Apocryphal books than some of the minor prophets.

    And just to throw this out there: I'm not sure this has always been the way. I read a lively theological debate in the letters to a (local) newspaper from the 19 century where very obscure stories were discussed in detail. I think that there is evidence that these were better known in the past, perhaps because people had little time to read much else.
  • HedgehogHedgehog Shipmate
    My memory is never to be trusted, but I can't recall any sermon concerning John 1:45-51:
    Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[m] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
    (NRSV transl.)
    I'm pretty certain I've never heard a sermon on the issue of (1) whether anything good can come out of Nazareth; (2) whether it was that unusual to find an Israelite in whom there is no deceit; (3) whether sitting under a fig tree is a good proof of one's lack of deceit; (4) whether anybody is impressed that Nat proclaims Jesus as the Son of God long before Peter makes that attestation (and before Jesus even does his first public miracle); or (5) when Nat actually got the chance to see the angels engage in a sky ballet.
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    edited June 2018
    I find it rather odd though that it should be thought appropriate that every single chapter of every single Bible book should be relevant as a subject for preaching in a Christian context, to a Christian or 'seekers' congregation.

    Wouldn't that be like expecting every book in a library to be suitable for reading aloud to an audience?

    For example, regulations on dealing with dry rot, rising damp, disease control and insect infestations, (Lev.14:33ff) might be interesting to an audience of superstitious hygiene inspectors, but hardly of interest to anyone with less specialized interests.

    Or perhaps a really avid historian specializing in ancient Hebrew family lines might find 1 Ch.1:1 to Ch.4:43 interesting, but I guarantee no one else will.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Hedgehog wrote: »
    My memory is never to be trusted, but I can't recall any sermon concerning John 1:45-51:
    Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[m] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
    (NRSV transl.)
    I'm pretty certain I've never heard a sermon on the issue of (1) whether anything good can come out of Nazareth; (2) whether it was that unusual to find an Israelite in whom there is no deceit; (3) whether sitting under a fig tree is a good proof of one's lack of deceit; (4) whether anybody is impressed that Nat proclaims Jesus as the Son of God long before Peter makes that attestation (and before Jesus even does his first public miracle); or (5) when Nat actually got the chance to see the angels engage in a sky ballet.

    I preached on that some years ago, under the title 'Come and see'
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    edited June 2018
    Leo wrote: »
    Hedgehog wrote: »
    My memory is never to be trusted, but I can't recall any sermon concerning John 1:45-51:
    Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[m] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
    (NRSV transl.)
    I'm pretty certain I've never heard a sermon on the issue of (1) whether anything good can come out of Nazareth; (2) whether it was that unusual to find an Israelite in whom there is no deceit; (3) whether sitting under a fig tree is a good proof of one's lack of deceit; (4) whether anybody is impressed that Nat proclaims Jesus as the Son of God long before Peter makes that attestation (and before Jesus even does his first public miracle); or (5) when Nat actually got the chance to see the angels engage in a sky ballet.

    I preached on that some years ago, under the title 'Come and see'

    There might also be some mileage in the symbolism and metaphorical significance of Jacob's Ladder, too. Plus the insight perhaps that the significance of the fig tree was not the tree itself but what Nathaniel had been meditating upon while he was sitting under it. Christ seemed to know what that had been, and apparently Nathaniel figured that Christ knew too. It had probably been about the Christ, and the meeting had confirmed Christ's credentials for Nathaniel.
  • Hedgehog wrote: »
    My memory is never to be trusted, but I can't recall any sermon concerning John 1:45-51:
    That passage is in the RCL, so would be preached on by many people every three years - 14th January this year.
  • I've heard several sermons on that passage - some about the calling of the disciples and others about nothing good coming out of Nazareth.
  • roybartroybart Shipmate
    Moo wrote: »
    There are some Bible passages which are never preached on for obvious reasons.

    What are some that you have noticed?
    While sitting by my fireside pondering Moo's question, I found myself wondering whether anyone has preached on Genesis 27: 11-13.

    And Jacob said to Rebekah is mother, Behold, My brother Esau is an hairy man but I am a smooth man.

    Then it came to me that I have indeed heard such a sermon: preached by Alan Bennett, in his days with Beyond the Fringe. I'm old enough to remember sermons not unlike Bennett's. The good old days. How I miss them.

    P.S. The sermon, mercifully short, can be found at You Tube under the title "Take a Pew." I tried to post the link but failed -- it kept returning to the top of this page.


  • roybartroybart Shipmate


    Tried again. It works! Thank you, Twilight.

    Take a Pew - Alan Bennett. https://youtube.com/watch?v=UOsYN---eGk
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I am on several message boards that deal with the lectionary readings. Many preachers are struggling on how to preach on the beheading of John the Baptist this week
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Those in authority? Daesh? President Trump Speaking truth to power? Wish I was preaching this week.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am on several message boards that deal with the lectionary readings. Many preachers are struggling on how to preach on the beheading of John the Baptist this week

    Why not try some audiovisual supplements?

    (Possibly NSFW)

    [Definitely NSFW. Mamacita, Host]

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    ^ I thought I had made that a double-link, but I guess I didn't. Anyway, forewarned.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Leo wrote: »
    Those in authority? Daesh? President Trump Speaking truth to power? Wish I was preaching this week.

    Which is almost exactly what we had. Add to that the plumbline of Amos, echoed by Martin Luther King and the king living at Bethel (Trump Towers) not Jerusalem (White House)
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    We too had an extremely good sermon which linked the Amos reading, John the Baptist, and how its much easier to love those we identify with and those, like Herod and Mr Trump whom we don't.
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