How do sermons help us?

Hi friends,

I recently came across this thought on X by Eddie Arthur:

Controversial Christian opinion; I am not convinced that listening to sermons has had any appreciable impact on my growth as a disciple. However, preparing sermons had done me a little of good - can’t speak for the impact on others.

According to his website, Eddie has worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators for 35+ years and is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

Eddie later clarified he has nothing against preaching, thinks it is essential to the church, and believes it helps many people.

But I wanted to share this thought because it connected with me. There are sermons that have helped me with various struggles, encouraged my heart, and helped me follow Jesus. I look forward to the preaching each week at my church.

It’s important to consider, too, that we’re all at different stages in our walk with God. For instance, a new Christian might benefit far more from sermons than someone who has been in full-time ministry for thirty five years.

At the same time, by far, the effort spent researching questions and writing answers in this community, creating a new course, teaching at my church, or speaking somewhere is much more impactful for me.

I don’t see how it could be otherwise. The passive reception of information will help us less than the active preparation of something we create for the benefit of others.

How about you? How do sermons help you? And… have you compared their benefit to the benefit you get from actively preparing to understand and teach about the Bible to others?


This is exactly what I was thinking! As I read his quote I was reminded of the “teach to know” part of the “teach to know, share to grow” principle you shared from 2 Tim 2:2 in this video. It is definitely something that has held true for me.

That said, there have been sermons that have been immediately and deeply convicting or encouraging, that have shaped my heart, thoughts, and actions. Listening to sermons definitely draws me closer to Christ as I am reminded of His goodness, love, and justice and am called toward a greater faithfulness in my response to Him.

I think preparing to understand and teach the Bible makes me slow down with the Scripture though and helps me to think through many questions and difficult areas to understand that I might miss otherwise. This depth of time, together with the community component of teaching, really helps me to see more of who God is on a more consistent, and often more lasting, basis than sermons.

I think even above preparation and teaching in impact for me though, has been discipleship - intentionally opening my life to, going through scripture with, and accepting both correction and encouragement from an older and wiser Christian.


Thanks for sharing this. I love the honesty of Eddie Arthur. I have heard sermons that have inspired me and others that were good information. I agree; it depends on where you are in your Christian walk. I do believe that discipleship is where Christian growth is. In other words, it is spending time with other believers, searching the scriptures, confessing to each other, and serving together.