I’ve had the privilege of participating in a preaching masterclass offered by our church’s executive pastor, Rohan Samuels, M.T.S.; ThD (cand.). I’m thankful for the course because it brings out the validity and technicality of what preaching can be. The weight of transferring that which is plainly visible on the pages of scripture onto an audience is immense. There are dangers in this task, as the poor methods, modes, and interpretations of scripture and preaching have led to all sorts of evils from chattel slavery, superiority complex, mistreatment of women, and mass suicide and murder.
So why is it so important that we understand that preaching is perhaps one of the most humbling ways we can both understand and communicate God’s revealed word to listeners?
It’s important because God has bestowed us, simpletons, finite creatures, humans, incapable of fully grasping the eternality of God and existence, with this task of furthering and preserving this beautiful text and its message to current and future generations.
Its ultimate message, of course, is consummated in the incarnation of Christ for the redemption of humanity. Forgiveness of sins, the regeneration of our fallen state, and the ultimate hope of an afterlife are revisited time and again via scripture. Creations reunification with its Creator. That’s the consummate message. Redemption. Love. The cross. Salvation.
But the in-betweens are where things get tricky. Not just that but the process through which we go about getting through these lesser-known or exaggerated areas tend to be misused or abused by people poorly trained or people who intentionally distort and perverse the text for their benefit.
Therefore, I wanted to share with you or whoever ends up reading this, the rudimentary terms I’ve learned or relearned through this highly recommended course offered by FLC’s (Freedom Life Church) leadership: Preaching Masterclass.
Mind you, revealing the entirety of it is a disservice to our teacher and this course therefore I will keep this information as bare as possible. That way the reader can develop an appetite for further learning in this area to better understand the styles of preaching and also the dangers of ignoring the structure in preaching.
So, for lack of time, let us define a few terms.
Minister Haddon Robinson defines expository preaching this way:
“The communication of a biblical concept derived from and transmitted through a historical-grammatical and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher then through him to hearers.”
SpiritHome, define exegesis in this way:
“To interpret a text by way of a thorough analysis of its content. When you do exegesis, you are an exegete who is exegeting the text. What you are doing is described as being exegetical. In its most basic Bible-relevant meaning, exegesis means finding out what the Spirit originally was saying through its author in that Bible passage.”
Eisegesis (the opposite of exegesis)
Is defined by SpiritHome this way:
“A process where one leads into study by reading a text on the basis of pre-conceived ideas of its meanings. It is rare for someone to be called an ‘eisegete’, because eisegesis has a well-earned negative reputation.”
Ethnos360 defines hermeneutics this way:
“Hermeneutics helps us know how to interpret Scripture correctly, so that we can avoid misapplying its truths to our lives.”
Got Questions defines homiletics this way:
“The term homiletics comes from the word homily, which basically means “a sermon.” Homiletics is the art of preparing sermons and preaching. Those who study homiletics seek to improve their skill at communicating the gospel and other biblical topics. The discipline of homiletics falls under the umbrella of pastoral or practical theology.”
The Tantamount Necessity of a Preaching Masterclass
The terms defined above by numerous sources are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to approaching and understanding scripture. Not just that but teleporting the church to the passage in question, within its appropriate context, meaning, audience, intent, and purpose.
When a minister is unfaithful to this preaching and study etiquette they are subject to all sorts of aerobics to bend the Holy Writ to their will in support of various egregious ideas and philosophies that strangle the life and freedom out of people.
Therefore, this simple review of the terminology we have covered so far in our preaching masterclass is a reminder that reading scripture and being blessed by the content and context of the divine writ are two completely different things.
Dr. Steven J. Lawson gives us a vivid and wholesome illustration of what healthy preaching can be. Please read an excerpt from his article from Expositor Magazine called, Embracing Exegesis:
“Diving for Pearls
An illustration would be helpful. Exegesis may be compared to the work of a pearl diver who plunges deep below the surface of the ocean. To find the valuable pearls, he must submerge and swim to the bottom of the ocean. He must carefully gather up the precious jewels that lie on the ocean floor. He will never find these ivory-white gems in the shallows along the shoreline. Neither will he discover them floating on the surface of the water. To secure these pearls, he must plunge deep to the bottom of the ocean.
Once these precious gems are in hand, the diver must bring the pearls to the surface. No one can benefit from them as long as they remain on the ocean floor. He must swim to the surface with them and take them to market. He must give them to a jeweler, who can string the pearls onto a strand, making a beautiful necklace. This collection enhances their luster and makes them attractive and desirable to their observers.”
We do ourselves and our fellow believers, not to mention God and His word a disservice when we live with the superficiality of scripture reading and an errant and erroneous man-centered view of the Bible.
Let us abandoned this sickly view of God’s word and give people the treasures and gems found within the beauty of scripture, within context, of course.
Can’t wait to see what else we’ll learn from our preaching masterclass and how to best apply these truths to my next sermon.