Be the Preacher/Teacher

Thurs., March 9

Another seminary text that stands the test of time is Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching. As opposed to topical preaching (ie “this week I am going to preach about gambling” or any other specific topic), biblical preaching begins with the text. To quote last week’s scholar, Dick Murray, “we can’t know what it means to us now until we know what it meant to them then.” The process of discerning what it “meant” is called exegesis, which involves putting the passage in its historical context, examining the meaning of words in the original Hebrew or Greek, looking at the style of language, authorship, etc. This is an integral facet of understanding scripture fully.

The next step is to know what it “means to us now;” for Professor Robinson, this means answering one basic question: “So what?” This question challenges us to dig deeper and to ask further questions, such as “What difference does this make?” or “How does this apply to my life?” or “What about this story or teaching inspired the writer to include it, and why here?” These are the questions to ask yourself as you encounter God’s written word.

So today, pretend you are preparing to teach or preach the gospel lesson for this coming Sunday: Matthew 14:13-21 (with the Spiritual Practice being “Service”). Read the passage, then, in your journal, answer the questions above, beginning with “So what?”

Go deeper: Do a little exegesis. Look at online preaching commentaries such as Note in your journal any new insights you gain. If you were to preach, what would you emphasize? How would you teach this passage to a class of first graders?