First of all, let me point out the similarities in both styles of teaching so that you see what we value all the time (regardless of what kind of series we are in.)
Both types of preaching are explanations of the Bible. And both types of preaching aim to apply the topic of the verses to the living of our lives. There is no difference there. It is not as if when we teach a topical series, those are the times we aren’t “preaching the Bible.” Likewise, it’s not as if when we teach a verse-by-verse series we aren’t covering any topics. When we did the marriage series, we learned the actual verses that are in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. And when we preached through Mark 10:1-12, we covered the topic of divorce, because that’s what Jesus was talking about in that chapter.
So, the biggest difference between the two is how the topic of the morning is decided. Is it decided based on a pastor wanting to teach on something specific? Or is it decided based on simply covering what the next passage teaches?
Personally, I believe that both types of preaching are extremely valuable and each one accomplishes some things better than the other one does. For instance, if you only taught through books of the Bible, what do you do if a needed topic isn’t coming up anytime soon? What if the congregation really needs to be reminded about the importance of evangelism, but it’s like, “Sorry, we are in Exodus 25 and we will remain in Exodus for two more years!” On the other hand, what if a church only taught on topic after topic after topic: “Today we learn about courage. Next week we learn about love. The following week is about humility.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but if that’s all we did, when would we ever learn what the book of Exodus is actually about? And when would we ever learn any of the difficult portions of Scripture?
So, from day one, here at Good News, we have alternated between teaching collections of related topics, and teaching through books of the Bible verse-by-verse. It is our hope that, over time, this kind of preaching will be like a well-balanced meal.