Archive for February, 2008


Piper’s Guidelines for Writing Exegesis

February 29, 2008

I’ve never come across this paper till now, but Guidelines for Writing A Research Paper in New Testament Exegesis by John Piper is worth a look, not least because many of the steps overlap with preaching preparation.


Scripture Study: Think Novel or Encylopedia?

February 28, 2008

Chew over this comment about context:

“When you use the encyclopedia you simply turn to the entry you are interested in, say ‘Asparagus.’ The fact that the entry before ‘Asparagus’ was on ‘Asps’ (cobras) and the one after it was on ‘Aspartame’ (an artificial sweetener) is irrelevant. In fact, you don’t even look at them, unless you get bored with reading about asparagus.

Imagine reading a novel in the same way: you open the book up halfway through, and read the third paragraph down. Try it if you like. We can guarantee it won’t make much sense. You don’t know who the characters are or how the plot is unfolding; you have no idea what is going on. That is why we read a novel from beginning to end.

Which of these two approaches should we use when we read the bible?

(Nigel Benyon and Andrew Sach, Dig Deeper, pg 36)


16 Convictions Shaping Piper’s Preaching

February 27, 2008

My wife and I were riveted last evening as we watched Piper’s lunchtime (9pm our time) talk on how his pastoral ministry affects his preaching. To begin with, however, Piper highlighted 16 underlying convictions which shape his preaching:

(Photo by JR Gordon13, Creative Commons License)

1. God predestined us and created us for the praise of the glory of his grace.
2. No one by nature wants to live for the praise of the glory of God’s grace.
3. Therefore every person is accountable to God and guilty with no excuse and is under his just and holy wrath.
4. The final expression of that wrath is an eternal hell of torment cut off from the presence of God and all that is good.
5. The plight of all men on the way to that punishment is that they are spiritually dead and blind and morally unable to see Christ as true and beautiful.
6. People are rescued from this deadness and this destiny of destruction by the death and resurrection of Christ in their place.
7. This atonement is applied to specific people in the new birth through the preaching of the word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
8. Preaching the Word of God continues in the life of the believer and the life of the church as a God-designed means (along with other means) of bringing about the reason for our creation—the praise of the glory God’s grace.
9. Preaching is more than teaching; it is the rising of the preacher’s heart to exult over the exposition of truth. It is both exposition of biblical texts and exultation over the reality in those texts.
10. This form of speech—preaching—is designed by God to correspond to his aim in creation and redemption to be glorified by his creatures, namely, his aim to be known and enjoyed.
11. Therefore preaching is worship, it does not follow worship.
12. Therefore preaching corresponds to the design of God to be worshiped in spirit and truth.
13. Therefore preaching is always more but never less than the exposition of Scripture.
14. People are changed into God-glorifying lovers of Christ by seeing Jesus Christ in the fullness of his biblical beauty through Spirit-anointed expository exultation.
15. The glories of God in Jesus Christ are not meant to be the foundation that we stand on while preaching about other things. They are meant to be the main thing we preach about and to which all other things are leading.
16. In preaching I am jealous to show my people the very words in the Bible in which I see the glories of God and the path of Christ-exalting joy.

Pastors, I recommend you listen to read the whole talk.


Even More Good Questions

February 27, 2008

1. What does Scripture say? – The Biblical Question
2. What does the Scripture Mean? – The Theological Question
3. What is my Hook? – The Memorable Question
4. Why do people resist this truth? – The Apologetic Question
5. Why does this matter? – The Missional Question
6. How is Jesus the Hero/Savior? – The Christological Question
(Mark Driscoll ; HT: Gospel Driven Church)


More Useful Questions For the Preacher

February 27, 2008

1. Who wrote/spoke the passage and to whom was it addressed?
2. What does the passage say?
3. Are there any words or phrases in the passage that need to be examined?
4. What is the immediate context?
5. What is the broader context in the chapter and book?
6. What are the related verses to the passage’s subject and how do they affect the understanding of this passage?
7. What is the historical and cultural background?
8. What do I conclude about the passage?
9. Do my conclusions agree or disagree with related areas of Scripture and others who have studied the passage?
10. What have I learned and what must I apply to my life?

(HT: Matt Slick)


Not Every Verse Is About Jesus

February 26, 2008

A question we covered in our last session was “how does the text point to Christ?” While I argued that all preaching should be “Christ Centered”, I perhaps didn’t stress enough that there can be dangers in how people may take this. The following quote from Chris Wright adds a helpful warning:

“I believe that the Old Testament as a whole leads us to Christ. However, it is one thing to explain, as Jesus did on the road to Emmaus, ‘what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself’, and quite another to say that ‘Every verse in the Old Testament is about Jesus. Not every verse is about Jesus. Sometimes people can make Jesus appear out of very unexpected corners of Old Testament stories, like a magician bringing a rabbit out of a hat. Sometimes trying to find Jesus in a story can become a distraction from what the original author was trying to help us to understand or do, and we can end up missing the real point he was trying to make.”

(Taken from Preach the Word, Editor – Greg Haslam)


Text and Context, Live!

February 25, 2008

If, like me, you can’t make the “Text and Context” conference (its on the wrong continent, I’m afraid!) then you might want to watch the live video stream that kicks off this evening (1pm, Seattle; 10pm – UK time). Though it may be more difficult to stay up if you’re on European time, there are some sessions that are definitely watchable. How about John Piper, Tuesday at 1pm (9pm UK) speaking on “How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes My Pulpit Ministry.”


Complete Schedule

Monday, February 25, 2008
2:00 pm Session 1 – Mark Driscoll – Text & Context: Humble Incarnational Ministry
4:00 pm Session 2 – CJ Mahaney – Text & Context: Pastoral Character & Loving People
7:00 pm Session 3 – John Piper – Text: Why I Trust the Scriptures

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
9:00 am Session 4 – Jim Gilmore – Context: Fear and Trembling in the Experience Economy
10:45 am Session 5 – Matt Chandler – Text & Context: Preaching the Gospel in the Center of the Evangelical World
1:00 pm Session 6 – John Piper – Text & Context: How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes my Pulpit Ministry
7:00 pm Session 9 – John Piper – Text: How Do I Distinguish Between Gospel and False Gospel?
9:00 pm Q & A with John Piper

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
10:00 am Session 10 – Jim Gilmore – Context: Decoding the Future, the Phoniness, and the Shifting Sands
11:20 am Q& A with Jim Gilmore
1:00 pm Session 11 – Mark Driscoll – Text & Context: Preaching Jesus Christ To Pagan Culture
2:15 pm Q & A with Mark Driscoll


Q & A – Favourite Genres

February 25, 2008

The audio quality isn’t good enough to post but I’m going to transcribe some answers to the Q & A session which concluded last Thursday night. The first question put to Peter Grainger and I was….

Tim: Is there one particular genre of Scripture that you find easiest to prepare?

Colin: I could probably tell you more readily what the difficult one’s are. That might help me by elimination! I find poetry very tough. Like doing a Psalm – which you might think is easy – but I find that difficult because of what Peter said: there’s not always an obvious structure. Prophecy’s pretty challenging as well. I think probably I find narrative easier, although narrative isn’t straightforward either because its not usually spelled out to you exactly what the purpose of each narrative is….so that takes time. I suppose maybe the easiest is the letters, you know, probably I find that easiest: just because its didactic argument, its clearly laid out what the point is, so ….. Then apocalyptic is just mega-hard!!

Peter: I actually enjoy preaching Old Testament narrative. I like re-telling the stories and drawing out some of the principles behind that…. One of the interesting things to do – I do hard copies of all my sermons – and its interesting to look at the hard copies and see where you’ve preached from and where you’ve not preached from, and where you’ve most preached from. For example, something you need to be wary of is preaching most of the time from Paul’s letters! For this reason, I try to focus on a gospel at least every three or four years.


“Preaching Different Genres” – Download

February 23, 2008

On Thursday night Peter Grainger spoke to the group on the theme of “Preaching Different Genres.” It was a helpful introduction to the whole subject, and worth a listen to if you need to expand your awareness in this area.


Other sessions for Download

Digging Into the Text – part one
Digging Into the Text -part two


More Digging – Download

February 22, 2008

We enjoyed another encouraging evening at The Preaching Course last night. Over the next fortnight I hope to fill you in on some of what we learned.

First up, the audio from the first lecture: Digging Into the Text – part two. In this session we considered three vital questions to pose of any biblical text: what is the context?, what is the structure? and how does the passage point to Christ?

(Photo by rbrwr; Creative Commons License)

ps. If you missed part one (dealing with praying and reading) download that here


Preaching the Passage… to the Preacher

February 20, 2008

Tim, something I was asked yesterday tied in closely with some of your comments last week about the preacher applying biblical truths to himself prior to preaching. Am I the only one who finds this challenging??

GD: As far as you are concerned, what is the most spiritually challenging aspect of the preaching ministry?

CA: Preaching the passage to oneself. It is ‘relatively’ easy to study the text, construct the outline, work out the application (for others!) and then deliver the sermon to the congregation. In this the preacher can be bypassed altogether. However it is much more profitable (and painful) for God’s Word to speak to the preacher first before they apply that message to their flock. Normally the preacher then becomes a more authentic and able conduit for speaking the message. He ceases to lecture and starts to preach a Word that is changing his life. But because this approach requires my regular and humble submission to God’s Word it is challenging. Properly done, this practice ‘breaks me’ every week.

(I think this ties in, to some extent, with a brilliant post yesterday over at Church Matters: “A Hypocrites Guide to Preaching.”)



February 19, 2008

I’m on the receiving end of an interview today over at Exiled Preacher. If you’re interested (!), it gives a little more insight into who I am and what I am about.

GD: Hello and welcome, Colin. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
CA: Well first and foremost I’m blessed to be a Christian: I have known the Lord Jesus Christ in a personal way since I was five years old. Additionally, I am married to my treasured wife Nicki and am greatly blessed to have three children: Glen, Rebekah and Grace. What else can I say?… I’m from Scotland – born and bred – and spent the first 23 years of my life living in the Glasgow area. For the last five years I’ve ‘defected’ to Glasgow’s ancient rival, Edinburgh, enjoying ministry with Charlotte Baptist Chapel. In my current manifestation, I serve the congregation as an Associate Pastor, a role which involves regular preaching and discipleship of university students.

GD: Your blog is called “Unashamed Workman”. What prompted you to start blogging?
CA: Strangely, my wife. Months prior to UW’s launch, she and some friends had kickstarted a blog (titus2talk) in relation to Biblical Womanhood. It looked like a lot of fun! One day Nicki asked me whether I had ever thought of starting a blog myself. Knowing that I could never sustain such an endeavour without picking the right subject, I decided to focus on preaching; something I’m very passionate about.

For the rest of the interview (15 more questions) check out the whole post here