A powerful moment in the story of Nehemiah recalls the celebratory reading of Scripture by Ezra after the people finished rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. The people gathered in tremendous unity “as one” (v.1) and listened intently as Ezra read from morning until midday. The people shouted “Amen, Amen!” They lifted up their hands, they bowed their heads, and they worshipped God with their faces to the ground (v.6). This was not a passive response to Scripture like we often see and experience in our typical church services.
As the law was being read, several of the spiritual leaders (Levites) interacted with the people and helped them to understand what was being read. See how this is described in Nehemiah 8
“They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.” Nehemiah 8:8
The preaching of the Word of God and the reading of Scripture should also be accompanied by equipped spiritual leaders engaging relationally with the people to make sure that they explain the meaning of the Scriptures and understand what are hearing.
There is a disconnect when a church is known for faithful Bible preaching but the people in the church are biblically illiterate or are not living in obedience to God’s Word. Faithful Bible preaching is essential, but it alone cannot accomplish the full task of making disciples.
If you are going to church, listening to sermons and not seeing tremendous growth in your spiritual walk or Biblical understanding. The problem is not the preaching… the problem is the idea that the preaching alone is enough. We need to learn to study and understand God’s Word for ourselves, but we also need to commit to entering into a smaller community where we can learn from a spiritual leader who can help explain God’s Word to us more intimately and begin to walk out the implications of God’s Word together.
Preaching + Discipleship + Obedience is the pathway to real spiritual growth and maturity.