We have been working through the book of Jonah in my Hebrew class, and this week we discussed several nuances in Hebrew that are tough to see in our English translations. The question was asked, “how do we show these differences when we teach or preach?” Our professor gave a response that caused me to reflect on one of the greatest privileges of seminary: gaining confidence in the text of the Bible.Continue reading “Confidence in the Text”
Introduction and Purpose
Allan Moseley’s From the Study to the Pulpit seeks to provide a comprehensive methodology for preaching and teaching the Old Testament. In the opening pages of his book, Moseley quotes Haddon Robinson on the need for such a method, “Clear, relevant biblical exposition does not take place Sunday by Sunday by either intuition or accident. Good expositors have methods for their study” (14). Moseley successfully provides anyone teaching the Old Testament with a such a method. This method aims to challenge readers to grow in exegetical proficiency while also providing a simple, usable process that they can use right away. The author succeeds in this task, blessing the reader with trustworthy manual backed by decades of teaching and preaching the Old Testament. If followed, Moseley’s method is sure to facilitate clear, relevant, and biblical teaching that pleases God and faithfully represents His Word.
In Saving Eutychus, Gary Millar and Phil Campbell aim to help preachers “preach in a way that is faithful to the Scripture without being dull” (26). They accomplish this goal by giving the reader several tools to help them communicate the message of a biblical text in a clear and engaging manner. From the outset, they distinguish between being engaging and creative and being cunning and manipulative. The goal of the preacher is be “so truth-driven that we wouldn’t dream of twisting the message to suit our own ends” (28). However, the preacher must try to present the truth in such a way as to maximize its impact (engaging), in a way that connects with people at a deep level. This kind of preaching, they argue, will change the hearts of the people as it clearly communicates the power for change- God’s Word. Millar and Campbell explain ways to clearly communicate God’s Word through giving instruction concerning finding the “bid idea” of the passage, illustrating the obvious, and continually growing in the ability to apply the biblical text. They also give some helpful insight on preaching Christ from the Old Testament, using different aspects of delivery (volume, pace, pitch), and the importance of sermon critique. This book is a simple yet very practical book on preaching.
In The Supremacy of God in Preaching, John Piper calls preachers to make displaying the glory and majesty of God the ultimate goal of their pulpit ministry, “The goal of preaching is the glory of God in the glad submission of his people” (44). He accomplishes this by presenting the biblical foundation for such a goal (1 Peter 4:10-11, “in order that in everything God may be glorified in Jesus Christ,”) and using Jonathan Edwards as an illustration of such preaching. The rest of the book answers how to preach the supremacy of God. First, Piper encourages preachers to recognize the gravity of preaching and to pursue joy in it. He then considers the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, encouraging pastors to follow his example in keeping God central through intimacy in worship, submitting to God through faith in His sovereignty, making God supreme through ten helpful suggestions on preaching (most impactful noted below). He concludes by looking back over three decades of ministry and considering how he’s grown in his appreciation of Edwards’ view of Christ and Calvin’s resolve to keep preaching “tethered to the Bible.” Near the end of the book, he lists thirty reasons why it is a great thing to be a pastor, a riveting and awe-inspiring list that is sure to stir the heart of anyone who is preparing for the task of shepherding God’s people.
In Preaching, Timothy Keller argues for what makes good expository, Christ-centered, culturally-pointed preaching. In other words, he argues for and describes the type of preaching that is faithful to the biblical text, focused on the main theme of the Bible (Christ), and committed to communicating God’s truth in a way that a particular audience will understand it. Continue reading “Reflections on Tim Keller’s ‘Preaching’”
“Looking unto Jesus.” —Hebrews 12:2
“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.
He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.’
All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that ‘Christ is all in all.’
Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits.
Therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith.
We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking unto Jesus.’
Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him.
Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.
‘My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.’”
–Charles Spurgeon, “June 28 – Morning” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994), 378.