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Cutting Room Floor

One of the most difficult and painful tasks for any well-studied sermon is to condense the material that is most important, relevant and valuable to the audience. Oftentimes, a good deal of good material is left on the preacher’s cutting room floor. Luckily, some of that material has found a place here.

At The Pastor’s Cutting Room Floor, you’ll find a number of things that don’t make it into the sermon, for a variety of reasons: there wasn’t enough time, the point was too small to make, the point was too technical to make, the issue is better dealt with out of the pulpit, etc.

Welcome to the stuff that didn’t make it. I pray it challenges you to deepen your understanding of God’s Word and to ultimately know Him better.

Leviticus 5a: Confess, Confess, Confess

I’ve heard it said, “Confession is good for the soul.”  That might have been an appropriate title for this week’s sermon!  Confession was a necessary element that took deliberate, “high-handed” sins and put them in the category of a forgivable sin.             But did you know there are several different words that translate “confess” in Hebrew and Greek?  Each of the words carries a unique nuance that’s helpful for our understanding of what it means to confess our sin before…

Leviticus 4 – The Bigger Structure

Hopefully by now you’ve noticed how each offering of Leviticus has a pattern: introductory verse (or two), opening paragraph detailing the most expensive kind of that particular offering, then 2-4 other paragraphs repeating much of the same material as the opening paragraph, only with less expensive offerings.             That pattern has been clear.  But did you know that there is a bigger overall pattern to the first few chapters of Leviticus, too?             Take a look at how each of…

Leviticus 3 – Comparing the Text

For each of the first three offerings in Leviticus 1-3, there has been a noticeable pattern: the text will begin with a paragraph explaining the offering ritual, then the next two paragraphs duplicate much of the first paragraph, only with a less expensive version of the same offering. My method for studying these chapters has been to begin with a translation and comparison of the text, putting each paragraph side-by-side and observing the similarities and differences.  When I go to…

Leviticus 2 – The Memorial Portion

Leviticus 2 overviews the Grain Offering.  This offering consists of fine flour (semolina), oil, frankincense and salt.  The priest would take a handful of the offering—making sure to include all the frankincense—and burn that handful on the altar.  The rest would be eaten by the priests.  The portion that was burned is called the “memorial portion” (Lev 2:2 ESV).             There exists some controversy over the meaning of “memorial portion.”  The Hebrew word—azkarah—has an uncertain etymology.  Most believe it means…

Leviticus 1 – *** (CRF Possibilities)

This Sunday we began a series in the book of Leviticus.  Boy, am I excited!  More excited than I probably should be.             But this Sunday was also Fall Fest, which meant I had much less time than normal in the pulpit.  I had to decide between preaching only verses 1-2 or preaching the entire chapter.  After much debate (and perhaps a few tears), I chose the latter.  That left a lot on the cutting room floor.             Some of…

Proverbs: The Upright Believer

The ESV translates Proverbs 29:10 – “Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.”  Let’s compare that with another translation: “Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright are concerned for his life” (NASB).             ESV has “bloodthirsty men” as the subject of both verbs – “hate” and “seek.”  Bloodthirsty men both hate the blameless and seek the life of the upright.             NASB, on the other hand, has “men of bloodshed” connected…

Galatians 6b – A Reflection on Galatians

At the end of a series, I find it helpful to reflect back on some of the things learned over the course of several months.  It took 13 sermons to preach through the 6 chapters of Galatians, a series which began on June 9th.  One of the ways I like to reflect on a book is to look back on the Big Ideas of each sermon, which reminds us of some of the main themes found in each passage (keep…

Galatians 6a – Sowing and Reaping in Scripture

Paul writes in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (all Scripture ESV).  There, he relates the concept to sharing “all good things” with teachers of the Word (6:6) and bearing one another’s burdens (6:1-5).  Though this is the first time Paul has used this analogy in Scripture, it has deep roots (pun intended) in the Old Testament and will become a favorite analogy of the apostle.            …

Galatians 5b – The Structure of Galatians 5

Sometimes when you work closely with the details in the text you forget to step back and see the bigger picture stuff the author does.  In this case, it’s pretty clear that Paul contrasts the “works of the flesh” (5:19-21) with the “fruit of the Spirit” (5:22-23a).  That’s the heart of the passage in Galatians 5:16-24.             Let’s imagine that the contrast of works of the flesh/fruit of the Spirit forms the center bullseye of this passage.  If we go…

Galatians 5a – Another “Cutting Edge” Text: Deut 23:1

Today’s text of Scripture was a little… painful.  Paul wasn’t cutting any corners when he wrote: “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” (Gal 5:12; all Scripture in ESV).  Brutal!             Paul plays with his words here, as the Judaizers were trying to convince the Galatians to circumcise themselves as a sign of adherence to the Old Covenant.  In true Pauline fashion, he doesn’t hold back and tells them exactly how he feels.             But there’s a chance…

Galatians 4c – What is Typology?

Greg Beale defines typology as “the study of analogical correspondences among revealed truths about persons, events, institutions, and other things within the historical framework of God’s special revelation, which, from a retrospective view, are of a prophetic nature and are escalated in their meaning” (Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, pg. 14 – an excellent resource, by the way!).             To put it another way, there are times when the Old Testament foreshadows something or someone…

Galatians 4b – The Little Things

In this week’s sermon, I did not end up cutting anything major from the discussion.  Most of what I originally intended to say from my study ended up in the sermon (a rare occasion!).  However, there were a few small morsels that I trimmed back.  Here are some examples (all Scripture in ESV): 1) Galatians 4:12b – “You did me no wrong”             Did Paul mean this sarcastically or was he speaking in a straightforward way?  Longenecker, in his Galatians…

Galatians 3c-4a – Adoption Past, Present and Future

Did you know that the Bible talks about our adoption as children of God in the past, present and future?  Just like our salvation has aspects of all three of these, so does our adoption. PAST             In Ephesians 1:5, Paul writes: “[God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (all Scripture in ESV).             This part of our adoption happened before we were even born!  It’s something God “predestined,” or…

Galatians 3b – 430 Years? Really?

Paul makes the statement in Galatians 3:17 that the law came “430 years afterward.”  The context is Paul speaking of God’s covenant with Abraham (3:16).  But how do we get from the Abrahamic Covenant to the Law on Mt. Sinai in only 430 years?             Paul’s statement coincides with Exodus 12:40, which says that the people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years.  Genesis 15:13, however, notes that it will be “400” years that the Israelites will be strangers…

Galatians 3:8 – Which Verse is Paul Quoting?

Sometimes when a NT author quotes the OT, there’s no mistaking where he’s directing our attention.  For instance, in Galatians 3:6, Paul quotes Genesis 15:6.  It’s clear and precise, a word for word quotation.  No scholar I’m aware of argues otherwise.             However, Galatians 3:8 presents a challenge.  Which verse is Paul quoting?  I’ll give the text in both English (ESV) and Greek (just the quoted portion), as both will be relevant in the discussion: Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture,…

Galatians 2b – Ordo Salutis

One of the areas I significantly trimmed from the message this morning was a discussion on the ordo salutis—fancy theological Latin jargon for “the order of salvation.”  You might think: “That’s easy!  I have faith, then I’m saved!”             Well, that’s true.  You go from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive.  Something within you changes.  But the question is: in what order does the change occur?             Some would put it like this (those of a more Calvinistic bent):            …

Galatians 2a – When Do We Confront?

Reading Galatians 2:11-14, you may wonder, “Why is Paul so harsh with Peter?”  The simple answer is: everything was at stake.  Peter stood condemned before God for hypocritically twisting the Gospel and allowing heresy to creep into the church.  He should’ve known better.  His influence was widespread and contagious.  His error was public, the Gospel was clear and the potential damage was tremendous should the issue go unchecked.             Let’s elaborate on that a bit.  Here’s a chart that may…

Galatians 1b – Paul’s Travels

A good chunk of my study time this week was focused on trying to figure out how Acts 9 and Galatians 1 both fit together regarding Paul’s early travels after his conversion.  Luke tells the story in Acts 9 and Paul tells it himself in Galatians 1.  Naturally—as any of us might do when telling a story—both individuals leave out certain details and side trips.                   For example, if someone were to ask me where I took my vacation last…

Galatians 1a – North vs South

“To the churches of Galatia” (Gal 1:2b).             Such a short phrase has erupted into one of the biggest debates of the New Testament.  Who were the Galatians?  Centuries of argument will not be solved in this short blog post, but at least a summary of some of the major positions might help sort through the difficulties.             Until the 18th century, nearly everyone assumed that Paul wrote his epistle to the Christians living in northern, ethnic region of Galatia,…

Proverbs 31b – Careful Structure in Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem.  Each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet – the ABC’s (or aleph bet gimmel’s) of Wisdom.             But what many don’t know is that Proverbs 31 is also a chiasm.  A chiasm is where the author structures the text in an intentional X-shaped pattern, where the first and last elements parallel each other, the second and second-to-last elements parallel, and so on.             Richard Clifford presents a chiasm in Proverbs…

Proverbs 30b-31a – On Spiders, Lizards, Greyhounds and Roosters

Several proverbs in Proverbs 30 use animals to make a point.  Some of these animals have been easily identified by scholars and linguists due to their use elsewhere in Scripture or comparative languages (i.e. the leech – 30:15; the vulture – 30:17).  However, if you’re comparing translations, you might run into a few interesting alternatives as you go.             During the sermon, I mentioned the “rock badger” (ESV) in 30:26, also translated “hyraxes” (NIV), “conies” (KJV) and “shephanim” (NASB; this…

Proverbs 30a: How Many Words are Agur’s?

Proverbs 30 begins with the words: “The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle” (ESV).  We spent quite a bit of time in the sermon dealing with the phrase that follows, whether it refers to people (Ithiel and Ucal) or Agur’s emotional state (“I am weary, O God”).  But one thing I cut from the sermon was how much of Proverbs 30 should be associated with Agur.             Most of Proverbs consists of proverbs written by or collected by…

Proverbs 24b – Laziness Revisited

We’ve seen a lot of laziness in Proverbs.  That is to say, Proverbs has a lot of verses about the benefits of hard work and the dangers of slothfulness.  There’s an interesting parallel about laziness found in the fourth “Bonus Saying” in Proverbs 24:30-34 (all verses in ESV):             24:30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,                         by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,             31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;                         the ground…

Proverbs 23b-24a: How Do I Count to 30?

After my first sermon on the “30 Sayings of the Wise” (Pr 22b-24) one of our teenagers in the church approached me with a very insightful question: “How do you know where each saying begins and ends?”                   The question was more difficult than he knew.  Commentators lack unity on how to count to 30.  As I mentioned in my last CRF post, some don’t even see this as 30 sayings.  But for those who do, they disagree where one…

Proverbs 22b-23a – The Instruction of Amenemope

Proverbs 22:17a says, “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise” (ESV).  “Wise” here is plural – the wise ones.  This section of Proverbs focuses on a number of wise sayings that apparently were drawn from more than just Solomon – they were taken from “the wise ones.”                   One of those wise ones might’ve been a guy named Amenemope, an ancient Egyptian scribe that lived at least 100 years before Solomon.  Amenemope had collected 30 chapters of…