Lesson 2（第二课） Preaching must be scriptural. No one can preach the entire Bible at one time. We need to consider smaller portions that we call texts. Over time we will proclaim the “whole will of God.” The word “text” derives from the Latin texere which means “to weave.” From where do we get our texts? • If we are preaching according to the church year we can obtain our texts for a lectionary also called a pericope series. Many use what is called the ILCW which has three parts A, B, and C. Over three years the pastor uses a lot of major, Biblical texts. Two PDFs are included with the notes which cover two years worth of church texts. • If we are preaching on a topic, we will choose a text or texts that allow us to speak about God’s word for that topic. • For a special occasion we will chose an appropriate text for that occasion. Why do we preaching using texts? Our starting point is a Bible text so that we can concentrate on God’s Word. Even when we speak on a topic, we focus on a text and not any preconceived ideas from our own thinking. When we have a smaller text we can speak about that text rather than our own interests. You will divide the theme into logical parts, but work to cover the whole text. The organization, writing and preaching of the sermon will be guided by the text. Advantages of using a text for preaching: A text offers a manageable part of the whole Bible. Using a text encourages us to study it in a logical way and encourages us to focus our listeners attention on a specific word of God. Over time, a text series provides a way for presenting more of God’s word rather than a random selection. A variety of texts helps to insure freshness in preaching. Begin your sermon work and the study of a text with prayer and meditation. Sermon writing is not a job, it is an action of devotion to God. Work on a sermon is a type of meditation for the pastor. Samuel was not writing a sermon, but his attitude is appropriate, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Study the Text A. A thorough study of the text in its original language (Hebrew or Greek) is highly recommended. B. Through study of the grammar, word order, and word relationships; (this is best done in the original language) C. Through Word studies (this can also be done using a good, modern translations); D. Through study of similar texts throughout the book and the Bible E. Through us of commentaries or other books – Bible study guides that use the text, and a catechism.
We arrive at an understanding of what God is saying in the text!
We may ask of the text several questions. Notice in these questions we do not ask, “What shall I say about this text?” We always ask, “What does this text mean?” What did this text mean to the writer and his original readers? What has this text meant to believers through the ages? What does this text mean to us today? When we are studying the text in the original language (a, b, & c) it will be useful to write our own translation of the text. Studying similar texts throughout the Bible (d above) can be done in several ways. The study Bible we are using may provide some cross references. The catechism may offer opportunities and suggestions for study. Word studies will take us to other parts of the Bible in our study. Commentaries will makes references to other parts of the Bible. Bible dictionaries may refer to other parts of the Bible. Dogmatic texts will make references to other parts of the Bible. The Book of Concord will provide cross references. Discover what the text has meant to others. We may find it useful to study books as the following: Commentaries will makes references to other parts of the Bible. Bible dictionaries may refer to other parts of the Bible. Dogmatic texts will make references to other parts of the Bible. The Book of Concord will provide cross references. Some pastors will read the sermons of others to gain ideas. Luther had written a number of sermons that we can read if the text is available. Information is available on the internet.
WARNING: It is always best to do your own studies and your own thinking before even looking at the work of others. Regular use of someone else’s work will make us lazy. Find Preaching Values for Today. Through study we will realize that each text speaks to various personal and congregational situations. We hear this when a person says, “That text really spoke to me.” They are saying that as they read or heard that word of God, things in the text struck them as applicable to their faith and life. Those parts that “speak to us” are called “preaching values.” When we ask “What does this mean to me and my congregation?” we are thinking about the “reaching values” of this text. As you are studying the text, if any ideas come to mind, be sure to write them down so that you do not lose them. Keep in mind: • Experiences that members may have had. • Temptations that apply to the text. File Your Text Studies - it is good practice to keep study notes for future reference. Let’s look at Luke 7:36-50
Personal Bible Study Hermeneutic
It is important to each of us to know our personal hermeneutic, or put another way, through what process do each of us understand the Bible. Over time I have seen five basic ways of understanding the Bible. This model may be overly simplistic, but does well in explaining the differing approaches to studying the Bible.
- Some people view the Bible and understand the Bible from the vantage point of what do our traditions say? What have our counsels said? What do our commentaries say? What do our past leaders and our current leaders say? If while studying the Bible you first consider the thinking of counsels and traditions and the others just stated, this is your personal Biblical hermeneutic. (The Tradition Approach).
- Some people approach the study of the Bible with the questions, “What do I think about the Bible?” In this hermeneutic the personal thoughts and ideas and logic influence their conclusions about the Bible. (The Logic Approach).
- Others are very concerned about the unity of Christians throughout the world. They view the Bible through the desire that all be one. This method regularly asks the questions what is and what is not central to the work of the church. (The community church approach).
- In this second to last hermeneutic the Bible is considered through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. The main question is how is the Spirit active today. (The Pentecostal approach).
- This last hermeneutic is the one which I recommend. Since we are convinced that the Bible is the Word of God, we are to let the Bible speak for itself. While Christians are scholarly people, while we have Christian experiences, while we want Christians to get along we are not to place our thoughts upon the Bible in a way that controls what the Bible says. We are to honestly study and consider what the Bible says and LISTEN to what the Bible says for it is the Word of God, the way through which God has chosen to speak to his people. We are to be guided by God’s Word, not traditions, not our own minds, not a shallow Biblical understanding that stays away from the hard questions, nor a focus only on the work of the Holy Spirit.
Weaknesses of hermeneutic methods 1-4
- The “tradition approach” shows its weaknesses when a church or person’s traditions are more important than what the Bible says. Those who hold this hermeneutic will say, “I am following the Bible,” yet their traditions are more important than what the Bible says. Jesus addressed this way of thinking when he said, 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ (see Isaiah 29:13) 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:6-8). Every church has traditions, yet those must be secondary to good Biblical thought.
- One of the most commonly held hermeneutics in the world is the “logic approach.” Christians certainly do think, and consider, and we are scholarly as we study and the Word of God. Christians also realize that not everything the Bible says makes sense to the mind. The Gospel does not make sense to humans – we think that we must do something to be saved. Baptism does not make sense. How can water wash away sin? Yet, Baptism does forgive sins. The Lord’s Supper does not make sense – how can the body and blood of Christ be in the bread and wine? Yet Jesus said this is my body and this is my blood. The words of the Bible need to be what guides our Biblical thinking, not out thinking that guides what we think the Bible says. Even when Scripture does not seem clear to us, we still need to have the mind that God’s word is trustworthy, and speaks to us, not we are to guide what Scripture says.
- The “community church hermeneutic” is attractive to Christians who want the church of Jesus to be one. God wants the church to be one and so should we. Yet, the other four hermeneutics are very different in their attitude and in their results. To simply wish that the church would be one is naïve. What happens among those churches and individuals who have this hermeneutic is that they must ignore those harder teachings for the sake of what becomes a shallow unity. This hermeneutic cannot deal with the full depth and breadth of the Scriptures teachings because someone may disagree. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (Proverbs 3:5).
- The “Pentecostal hermeneutic” focuses on the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Scriptures do teach that the Holy Spirit is active. Yet, those who focus on this hermeneutic are seeing the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in everything, but without the centrality of the Bible. Any church or person who takes the Word of God out of understanding God’s Will and Way or even greatly moves away from the Scriptures is not following a Biblical hermeneutic. The regular focus on the miraculous does not reflect the way that God acts in the world, nor what is said in his Word. In Galatians Paul notes that even if an angel from heaven speaks about another Gospel [that includes any so called message of God that is apart from Scripture] they are to be condemned. Neither will the Holy Spirit change or move away from His own word, which is in the Bible. God is not a liar about what he has given in the word.
- The best Biblical hermeneutic recognizes that the Bible is the Word of God and let’s God’s Word speak to us, not us controlling the Word of God, (The Word speaks for itself hermeneutic). Give consideration to the above hermeneutic styles mean to you. Everyone who studies the Bible will hold one of these. What do you hold? You need to realize this, for only then might you be able to understand the other major ways and consider for yourself, how to teach the word in sermons or Bible classes. You may even say, I want the best points of each. While I can appreciate that, understand the temptations that Satan will bring to your life. Satan will always look for ways to discourage good understanding of God and his Word. Styles 1-4 provide Satan the bigger doors for spiritual attack.