Internet Monk has brought up an archived article about correctly reading and interpreting scripture. Magic books, grocery lists and silent messiahs gives 3 examples of how scripture can be misused in a sermon or lesson. It’s a good read, and I recommend it. As I looked over it again, and the comments, I found that I had commented twice in the thread. One of them apparently just after I had finished a book on expositional preaching. A good expository sermon is one where the text is read, a few minutes is given to exegesis, and then application is made. Reading my own comments from 2005 reminded me of how strongly I once believed in this. I didn’t have a blog at the time, and good exposition fits well into the theme of Clark Bunch’s Weblog*. Here is the bulk of that comment:
If a Biblical, Christ centered message is preached, and good application is illustrated, then hearers of the message will know how to apply the sermon to their everyday lives. Especially when the preacher prays that God direct the sermon, and that God direct the hearers of the sermon to respond. Every message does not have to evangelical, but as the sheep are fed, unbelievers will be lead to put their faith in Christ. If the preacher knows the people he is preaching to, he can read the passage, explain what it meant in the day it was written, what it has to do with Christ, and what our response should be Monday through Saturday in the modern life of the believer. Responding to the needs of the audiance should not be the first thing the sermon does, but should be where every sermon ends up.
Preaching that Changes Lives, by Michael Faberez, is the book I had just finished at that time. My comment is heavily saturated in its message. On an unrelated note, I’ve just been given a gift of seven (7) books either written by John Piper or coauthored by him. It will take me a month of Sundays to get through them all, but one might expect Piper’s teaching to start coming out more and more in the days ahead.
*Clark Bunch’s Weblog was the original title of this blog, from March until May of 2008.