topics worth the tussle too: stuff from the hard books

Last year, I presented an occasional series called “Topics Worth the Tussle.” It looked at several topics (eight so far) that might require a little wrestling – but could be extremely beneficial to your students.

So as you might be guessing, I want to continue that series this week! As you’re planning topics for teaching in your Large Group Meeting or working through in small groups or discipleship, I hope you’ll think about these tougher themes. Because I think they’re worth the tussle.

leaven, laws, or just the less-visible books

This week, I’m writing a devo on Leviticus 2 for a group that’s walking through the first five books of the Old Testament. It will be an interesting effort for their ministry – especially when they get to Leviticus and Numbers – but I’m glad they’re giving it a go.

When’s the last time you taught out of Leviticus? Ezekiel? Habakkuk? Philemon? Second John?

There are plenty of reasons to purposely engage with portions of Scripture that students are less likely to have encountered. Whether you do it as a whole message (or series) or just sprinkle in less familiar passages, the tangential effects are several:

  1. It teaches them that all of the Bible is important. You may believe it, but do you prove it by teaching from it?
  2. Unfamiliar texts sometimes contain unfamiliar truths (or at least familiar truths conveyed in surprising ways).
  3. It lets them “swing the heavy bat” when it comes to Bible study. Many passages are less familiar because they’re more difficult. So if a student learns to work through those texts, she’ll be all the more ready for the more accessible passages.
  4. It encourages students (even mature Christians) to keep looking for new stuff in Scripture. I remember sitting next to a Christian girl one time, as we listened to a speaker teach through the entire (one-chapter) Book of Philemon. When he finished, my friend exclaimed, “I don’t know if I’ve ever read that book before!” I’d say there’s a pretty good chance she could be encouraged to find other unfamiliar passages on her own; even though she’s been reading her Bible for decades, now she’s got an exciting reason to dive deeper.


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