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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.

Isaiah 12 – Scripture’s Use of Scripture

A friend of mine recently published a book called Old Testament Use of Old Testament (Gary Schnittjer).  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It’s massive, well-researched and takes the reader on a journey through each book of the OT, highlighting countless intertextual connections in Scripture.  I would encourage you to check it out here. In honor of his publication, I thought I would show a few intertextual connections in Isaiah 12.  As I said in my Sunday sermon when preaching…

Isaiah 10b – The Arrogant Assyrians

Isaiah gets into the mind and thoughts of the king of Assyria at least twice in Isa 10.  In 10:8-11, the king boasts that even his commanders are as great as kings and one town is the same as the other to the conquering Assyrian army.  The king boasts of tearing down the idols (and by implication, the gods) of the other nations, promising to do the same to Jerusalem. Just a few verses later, Isaiah again looks into the…

Isaiah 9b-10a – The Repeated Chorus of God’s Anger

Today I preached on Isaiah 9:8–10:4.  I explained that the reason for preaching on such weird boundaries—half of chapter nine and the first four verses of the next chapter—was because Isaiah uses a repeated “chorus” or refrain at the end of each paragraph, tying the literary unit together.  The chorus says, “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still” (all Scripture in ESV). Isaiah uses this chorus at the end of 9:12,…

Isaiah 9:6-7 – Oxymoronic Jesus

One of the things that struck me as I studied to preach Isaiah 9 this week was the amount of oxymorons in the text.  An oxymoron is a figure of speech where two seemingly contradictory things are joined together.  Jumbo shrimp.  Less is more.  Pretty ugly. Isaiah describes the coming child (Jesus) in oxymoronic terms.  The language has become so familiar to us since we hear it every Christmas, but when we slow down to think about what Isaiah is…

Isaiah 8 in the New Testament

One area I love to study but rarely have time to explore thoroughly in a sermon is the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament.  The NT seems to love Isaiah 8, quoting the chapter no less than four times in three different books. Here are a few charts comparing the NT’s use of Isaiah 8 (all Scripture in ESV).  I have highlighted the text that is quoted in both the original and quoting source and will offer minimal comment…

Does Isaiah 7:15-16 Teach An Age of Accountability?

Does the Bible teach an “age of accountability”?  This phrase refers to the belief that before a certain age, children are not held accountable by God to their sinful nature since they do not yet have the ability to understand their need to place their faith in Jesus as their Savior.  Usually, discussion on the age of accountability relates to God allowing children who die under this age to go to Heaven even though they have not actually accepted Christ…

Isaiah 5: Isaiah among the Prophets

Readers of the OT prophets will sometimes notice that oftentimes a prophet’s words will sound similar to other prophecies made by other prophets.  There is much evidence of overlapping messages between the prophets of Israel.  Isaiah is no exception. In Isaiah 5:13, the prophet writes, “Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst” (all Scripture in ESV).  Isaiah threatened the people of Judah with exile due…

Isaiah 4 – Connections with Psalm 132

In my sermon on Isaiah 4, I explored several connections “branching” out from 4:2 (pun intended), including connections in Jeremiah 23, Zechariah 3 and 6, and even Isaiah 11.  One connection I wasn’t able to dig into in the sermon was Psalm 132, which offers a number of thematic connections with Isaiah 4. This psalm does not use the phrase “Branch of the LORD,” but you’ll find several connections to Isaiah’s words within the short hymn.  The psalm begins by…

Isaiah 3 – Connections and Quirks of the Text

A good study of a biblical text will produce more insight than a preacher can ever share in a single sermon.  Here are a few connections and quirky traits of Isaiah 3 that did not make my sermon: Isaiah 3 predicts a time of coming exile as judgment against Judah’s sin.  Particularly, Isaiah focuses on the social upheaval and reversal of fortunes for the leadership in the land.  A few connections with the book of Lamentations caught my attention.  Keep…

Isaiah 2:2-5 // Micah 4:1-5

Note: All Scripture in NASB. *Black font indicates identical Hebrew language; gray font indicates differences; red font notes where “peoples” and “nations” are switched in Hebrew. **In a number of places, the NASB is inconsistent with the translation from the Hebrew. In these places, the Hebrew is identical and the English translation slightly differs. Examples: “Now” and “And” in the opening sentence both translate vav. “Concerning” and “about” in Isa 2:3//Mic 4:2 are the same in Hebrew. “Learn” and “train…

Isaiah 1b – What Does God Hate?

We like to think about God as a loving God.  And he is.  1 John says it twice: “God is love” (4:8, 16).  2 Corinthians 13:11 calls God “the God of love.”  The testimony of Scripture is clear that God is a God of love. But it may come as a surprise to some Christians that the God of love… hates.  But isn’t hatred a sin?  Not when it is directed at sin. Isaiah 1:10-31 speaks against religious hypocrisy.  The…

Isaiah 1a – 58 Years of Faithful Ministry

Ministry longevity is something to be valued.  Unfortunately, fewer pastors boast decades of ministry in the pulpit, much less to a single church.  I consider those I studied with in Bible college and seminary and very few of them still pastor (though many are still involved in ministry in some form). In my sermon on Isaiah 1:1-9, I mentioned that—at the very least—Isaiah ministered faithfully for 58 years.  Nearly six decades of ministry! Where did that number come from?  There…

Hebrews 13c – Big Ideas in Hebrews

At the end of each sermon series, I like to collect together all the “Big Ideas” of each sermon and reflect on the entire book as a whole.  Skim down through each Big Idea and see if you can notice some of the main themes and emphases in this magnificent book!  (For two sermons, I did not have a formal Big Idea, mainly because the original intent was to preach it with the passage before or after and the original…

Hebrews 13:7 – Who Are Our “Leaders”?

The word “leader” can mean many different things.  It can refer to the leader of a country or the leader of a team of employees.  One can be a leader in the game, “Follow the Leader” or one can be the leader of a sports team with most points scored. So what does the Preacher mean in Hebrews 13:7 when he says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way…

Hebrews 12b – A Hidden Allusion in Hebrews

Hebrews is a book well-known for its many overt quotations of the Old Testament.  Usually the author announces such references with explicit lead-in statements like, “he said” or “it has been testified somewhere.”  They usually aren’t hard to miss! Occasionally, though, with someone as saturated in OT thought as the Preacher in Hebrews, allusions can slip by almost unnoticed.  In Hebrews 12:12-13, the Preacher writes, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for…

Hebrews 11:35 – Heaven is Better than Bacon

How great is Heaven?  The author of Hebrews might give us a clue. In Hebrews 11, the anonymous writer recites dozens of examples of men and women of faith.  In verse 35, he writes, “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life” (ESV). Though most (if not all) the examples given in Hebrews 11 point to people in the Old Testament, many Bible scholars believe that this verse possibly refers to…

Hebrews 11c – You Gotta See the Baby!

A classic Seinfeld episode has the famous quartet at a friend’s house, who continually insists, “Jerry, you gotta see the ba-by!”  The baby’s mother thinks the child is beautiful, but everyone else has a very different opinion. Hebrews 11:23 tells us that Moses’s parents hid him for three months after his birth, “because they saw that the child was beautiful” (all Scripture references in ESV).  This raises the question: what if Moses were ugly?  Would they have been less inclined…

The Structure of Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11 offers a simple structure that helps organize the material in a nice, orderly fashion.  Yet it still throws in a few surprises along the way that serve to highlight some of the author’s main points. A cursory reading of the text will show 18 times when the author begins a sentence, “By faith.” 11:3 – “By faith we…” 11:4 – “By faith Abel…” 11:5 – “By faith Enoch…” 11:7 – “By faith Noah…” 11:8 – “By faith Abraham…”…

Hebrews 10b – Closing the Gap with 4:14-16

After reading Hebrews 10:19-25, you might feel like you’ve heard some of this before.  That’s because you have!  Hebrews 4:14-16 sounds remarkably familiar, paralleling much of the language in 10:19-25 in what scholars call an “inclusio.”  The effect frames the material in between, wrapping up a long, detailed argument. I did a textual comparison between the two texts (using NASB for the English).  Studying this, you can see how carefully the two texts parallel each other in their main thoughts…

A Double Parallel: Hebrews 9:20 // Exodus 24:8 // Matthew 26:28

Most times when we quote another source, that quote is singular: we want our audience to think about one reference.  Whether we quote a movie, a book, or a music lyric, our quotes tend to be singular and—let’s be honest—usually superficial. The author of Hebrews, however, often has multiple layers to his references.  Consider the quote in Hebrews 9:20.  I’ll give you the verse before as well for context: “For when every commandment of the law had been declared by…