By Spencer D Gear
In this article on my homepage, Can the Sermon Be Redeemed? I make a plea for all preachers (pastors and laity) to treat the biblical text with seriousness when they preach and teach. When Paul urged Timothy to “preach the word”,that’s exactly what he meant for all preachers in the entire church age – preach the Word of God. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV).
I was somewhat startled when I was introduced by a person in my church to a visitor. The church member said, “Spencer believes in preaching what the Bible states.” She got my vision: “Preach the Word.” This can be done through topical, Bible-based preaching, but I find the most suitable method is to preach my way through books of the Bible (Old and New Testaments). This forces me to deal with controversial and even difficult passages. It also requires me to preach all Bible doctrines, including the ones in which I am least conversant. I have to deal with eschatology, predestination, free-will, baptism, gifts of the Spirit, and other controversial subjects. God knew what he was up to when he commanded all preachers to “preach the Word.”
When you preach, don’t preach your own opinion. Preach the text — preach the Word of God. Of course, the message proclaimed from the Scriptures needs to be illustrated and applied for a contemporary audience, but it must be based on a sound exegesis of the passage.
What is exegesis? ”Exegesis is the process of interpreting a text of Scripture” (Grudem 1994, p. 109). The problem any interpreter of the Bible faces is that “everyone who interprets a passage of the Bible stands in a present time while he examines a document that comes from a past time. He must discover what each statement meant to the original speaker or writer, and to the original hearers or readers, in their own present time” (Mickelsen 1963, p. 55). This is the process of exegesis. It is critical for the understanding of any text written in the past.
If one wants to convey this message to a contemporary audience, the speaker engages in the discipline of exposition, but exegesis precedes exposition: “He must see what meaning these statements had in the past, but he must also show what is their meaning for himself and for those to whom he conveys these ideas” (Mickelsen 1963, p. 55).
For a number of years I have been convinced that many of my Australian preaching colleagues are more convinced by a purpose-driven, seeker-sensitive mentality than a biblical view of preaching. Therefore, as I get time, I will format and upload more of my own expositions, praying that the Lord will use them for edification, growth and blessing.
If you want help in learning Bible exposition, I highly recommend this book that has been the most helpful for me in devoloping my skills as a preacher of the Word: Bryan Chapell 1994, 2005, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon, 2nd edn, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am by no means a Bryan Chapell purist, but this is the most helpful and practical book I have ever read on how to prepare expository messages with something that is unique to Chapell, in my understanding: “The Fallen Condition Focus.”
I must admit that I get bored and frustrated when I hear boring preachers who do not connect with God’s people. I was provoked by one such boring episode recently to write this article, “It’s a sin to bore God’s people with God’s word”.
Here are links to my expositions of Scripture. These are all based on messages I have preached at churches.
Grudem, W. 1994, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Mickelsen, A. B. 1963, Interpreting the Bible, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 January 2014.