Why Pastors Skip Verses

Ignoring verses in the Bible doesn’t mean they aren’t still there.



We all ignore verses in the Bible. Many verses are inconvenient to our doctrine, our firm statements, and our way of life.

I’m not talking about ignoring verses because you’ve never read them. I mean, you know the verses are there, you just choose to ignore them.

I think of this every time I hear a Calvinist and an Arminian argue. They both ignore the other side’s verses and flop out more of their proof texts. Nothing is resolved except letting the argument’s listeners know that neither person is entirely dealing with the Bible.

This is, in fact, probably the only redeeming aspect of Christian arguing: it lets the hearers know that the talkers have little idea what they are talking about.

Over my years of preaching I have covered every single book of the Bible. I’ve preached many an uncomfortable sermon. Like, uncomfortable to me, ones that hit a little close to home. As a pastor I can choose to skip passages. Maybe end my text right before that one verse because it makes an inconvenient point to my sermon. No one will know, it’s not like anyone is listening anyway.

But I know those verses are there. I know what verses I skip and why I skip them. I have faces that pop into my head when I read verses. “Yup, that guy will get ticked if I bring this up.” Or, “that woman will fly into a tailspin of doubt if I bring that one up.”

Pastors are told all the time not to preach at individuals. I find this to be impossible. Especially since, at the same time, pastors are told to keep in touch with the people so you have relevant sermons.

Which is it? Be relevant but not too much? I guess, so we skip verses.

There are certain verses I know will annoy people, or stir up the same stupid argument with the same person and I just don’t feel like arguing again, so I skip it.

Some verses face a fact in my life that isn’t good, and if I talk about it I’m going to get weepy or judgmental, or angry, or who knows what manifestation of guilt, so I skip it.

Some verses are the ones that people got mad and left the church over, and some of their family still attend and it’ll make everyone feel weird, so I skip it.

Some verses destroy everything we hold dear and, if taken seriously, would make us re-examine our ministry and ways of life, so I skip it.

Some verses are just flat out confusing. I have no idea what they are talking about and I’m making a brilliant point and don’t want to get bogged down in minutia, so I skip it.

There are many reasons to skip a verse and they all make legitimate sense when justified correctly. But here’s the thing: no matter how many times you skip a verse, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It must be dealt with at some point. We will stand before God. We will give an account. We will be judged by God’s Word.

If this were true you would think every Christian would want to understand every single verse in the Bible to get ready for that judgment.

Yeah, you would think so. But, hey, maybe all those verses about judgment, maybe we should just skip those.



He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
–John 12:48

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