Monday, December 03, 2007

A Young Preacher's Thoughts on Preaching: Fresh Insights

Much is made in the current day of preaching the basic truths of the Bible. This we must do. However, it is my opinion that the best preaching is not simply that which is true, but that which digs very deeply into the text and the context of the text to unearth fresh insights or approach familiar truths from fresh angles.

In conservative and reformed circles, many preachers have reacted against liberal disbelief in Scripture by focusing great attention on preaching the point of a passage. Many preachers take pride in the fact that they say nothing new and only declare the counsel of Scripture. I think that there is much to be commended in this line of thinking. Fanciful, allegorical or just plain unbelieving preaching is harmful and ungodly. We must take great pains to preach the point of a given text and to take our homiletical, theological, and applicational cues from the text from which we preach. We must always assume that the Bible has a tremendous amount to say, that it in fact has inexhaustible riches to consider, and that it is the all-sufficient speech of a divine God to a decidedly human audience in desperate need of nothing else but this divine speech.

However, there is a mistake that I think can be made among those who share such thinking as that outlined above. No group has a monopoly on truth and all will fall into error at some point in their thinking. The particular group of which I speak can, I think, lose sight of freshness due to an overemphasis on faithfulness. Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that there should be a limit to how faithful we are in our preaching! I am saying that we can so emphasize preaching the exact point of Scripture and can so rejoice in our lack of fanciful preaching that we actually become lazy in our preaching, fail to really unearth and situate the text, and end up preaching general truths each week that fail to move our listeners. It is our responsibility as preachers, I would argue, to so know the languages, to so study the commentaries, to so meditate on the text, that we preach the great truths of the faith each week but with detail and insight that only hard work can yield. I'll elaborate more on this tomorrow, but for now, the pot should be stirred. It is not enough merely to say the true thing as a Christian preacher; we must go beyond this, and give our people a fresh meal of truth each week.


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