I’m a big fan of superhero movies, both Marvel and DC. There have been stars (Thor: Ragnarok, 2017 Wonder Woman) and stinkers (yes, I’m looking at you Batman Vs Superman and 2011 Thor) on both sides.
However, there is one thing that for me distinguishes the Marvel movies above the DC ones.
It’s that the 23 Marvel movies (spanning 11 years!) have a coherent story arc. All 23 movies fit into a bigger narrative. It’s a story that is heading somewhere. To put it another way, the 23 movies have one central Big Idea: Earth needs a team of heroes to defend itself from the cosmic level threat of the big purple baddie, Thanos.
And so, the characters develop in each movie to serve the Big idea: Tony Stark evolves from ego-centric billionaire to self-sacrificing hero. The Black Widow evolves from orphan who lives for self to one who lives (and dies) for her Avengers family. Captain America is consistently portrayed as the guy who stands up against tyranny no matter the odds.
Thanos also appears directly and indirectly at different points in these 23 movies to remind us that battling him is the big idea: the infinity gauntlet appears in 2011 Thor, his post-credits scene in 2012 Avengers, his cameo in 2014 guardians of the galaxy.
In short, the Marvel movies were great because every movie was shaped by and contributed to the Big idea.
Preaching different sermons from a bible book is like making 23 Marvel movies. Each book has a Big idea which affects the way we preach individual passages. The passages put together have a coherent arc. They are going somewhere. They are shaped by and contribute to the Big idea.
If we don’t keep the book’s big idea in mind when preaching, we’ll end up like DC preachers (sorry DC fans!): some star sermons, some stinker sermons. But all stand-alone sermons that don’t seem connected to each other.
In this training module, we look at what the big idea of a bible book is, why it matters and how we derive it. Let’s aim to be Marvel preachers!
Ivan is a Elder-Pastor at Bethesda Church Bukit Arang. He's suffering now but knows glory is near. He supports Liverpool and has 7 kids.
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