There was a time when preaching single verse sermons was the norm. In some places, it still is.
Should we, or shouldn’t we, preach single verse sermons?
Peter Mead offers the following guidance:
1. If a single verse is a complete unit of thought, great! For instance, many proverbs stand alone as a complete unit of thought and can be profitably preached as such.
2. If a single verse conveys the main idea of the unit of thought, great! In some passages there is a single thought that encapsulates the main idea of the passage and it might be effective to preach the verse, while choosing how much of the context to refer to at the same time (depending on situation of sermon, listeners, etc.)
3. If a single verse conveys a significant proportion of the main idea of the text, this might be effective. As above, the surrounding context will need to be brought into the message in some way or other, but appearing to preach a single verse may work well. In Peter’s comment above, I noticed how he still tied the single verse to the message of the Psalm as a whole, which makes me think it might be very effective.
4. In a topical message, a single verse may act as sectional manager for that section of the message, but that manager must not act autonomously from the influence of the full unit of thought. That is, the verse must be understood in its context.
5. If a single verse is used without awareness of context, or to preach a point it wouldn’t give if understood in context, or if preached without studying the context . . . well, please don’t.