Archive for March, 2008


Capitol Hill Snaps (part 2)

March 18, 2008

(A warm welcome awaits…)

(Some of the group…)

(The man himself…)

(Someone important lives here. Apparently…)


Capitol Hill Snaps (part 1)

March 18, 2008


Unashamed Workman readers could be forgiven for suspecting that the blog author was not truly on a Capitol Hill Baptist ‘Weekender’. Perhaps this was a cunning plan to enjoy a few days respite from blogging. Well? The following photo proves the truth beyond doubt…


Washington Wisdom #3

March 17, 2008

Mark Dever, from Saturday night’s lecture on preaching:

“An expositional sermon is a sermon on a portion of Scripture in which the point of the passage is the point of the message.”

“Our main gathering is our main meal.”

“Biblical preaching will be shown by the lives of the people to be relevant”

“If you are a church’s main preacher you must be doggedly committed to preaching the gospel.”

“If you are in some valley from which you can’t see the cross, you need to work a little bit more [on sermon preparation]; because from every text you should be able to see the cross.”


Washington Wisdom #2

March 15, 2008

One of the things I’m appreciating over here at Capitol Hill Baptist is the combination of firm convictions and generous spirit’s. Dare I say: its rare to find the two things coming together!

Getting to the bottom of this, Mark Dever’s advice from a recent e-journal offers great wisdom on dealing with disagreements:

Put it all in perspective. If you’re a Christian, you’re an heir of heaven! God has called you to be a messenger of his gospel more than any other message. And what is your witness? Do people think of you as argumentative or quarrelsome? We want to be known more by what we are for than by what we’re against. And we always want to be for the gospel, and for being reformed by the Word of God. In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things love.


Washington Wisdom # 1

March 14, 2008

“What has God called the church to do? We are to display the character and image and likeness and glory of God the Father and God the Son – so that even the pagans witness it and give glory to God!” (Matt Schmucker)


McGarvey On Commentaries

March 12, 2008

Taken from Talking the Walk:

(A look at excerpts from J.W. McGarvey’s lecture on “Preachers Methods” delivered at the Missouri Christian lectureship 125 years ago… 1883: (cont.)

Study of Other Books

“Good Commentaries render us important service in many ways.

1. First they serve as a guard against blunders.Among the most egregious blunders in the interpretation of Scripture are those committed by men of inferior learning or judgment who interpret the Scriptures without aid.
2. In the second place, it is a ready source of information. Multitudes of facts and references throwing floods of light upon important passages have been collected by the research of commentators, and furnished to our hand, which would otherwise be beyond our reach….
3. In the third place, the use of Commentaries awakens thought. Every one that is worth consulting presents the subject in some new phase: it presents something different from and often inconsistent with our own previously formed conceptions; and it compels us to think again over the whole ground.
4. In the last place, Commentaries, with all the errors which may be properly charged against them, do in the main give us the right interpretation of obscure passages, and the right application of those which are not obscure. If we follow them implicitly we are but seldom led astray, and if we find in them only a confirmation of our own conclusions this gives us strength and gratification.

“While I insist, however, upon the value of Commentaries, I would also insist upon a judicious use of them. When about to study a passage of Scripture, never consult the Commentary first. If you do you are likely to accept the author’s views, whether right or wrong, and your mind will be biased in the subsequent study of the text itself. First study the text until its words and sentences are distinctly apprehended; until all that is clear in it is understood; until its difficulties are discovered; and until your own mind has grappled with these difficulties more or less successfully. You are then prepared to consult the Commentary….”

“I would suggest as another precaution in regard to Commentaries, that the young preacher take pains, as soon as practicable, to procure two or more on every portion of Scripture which he studies, lest he become a blind follower of a single, guide, who, in some places, is almost certain to be a blind guide. In making selections, always choose from the more recent rather than from the older works. In all departments of literature immense advances are being made on the knowledge and methods of former times, and in no department are they more rapid than in the interpretation and illustration of the Bible….”

[cph: it is fascinating to note that many of the “classic” conservative commentaries upon which we still rely were being released about this time and McGarvey notes and recommends them.]


Dever, Washington & Capitol Hill

March 12, 2008

I may not be posting for a few days due to a great opportunity. Tomorrow morning I board a plane for Washington D.C and a long-weekend visit to Capitol Hill Baptist Church. This is a church I have long admired from afar; now I hope to learn some more up-close. Pray for me along with 50 other pastors and seminarians in attendance.

(Mark Dever, senior pastor of CBC)


5 Reasons To Read Commentaries

March 11, 2008

1) Historical Reconstruction.
Yes we can all read Tacitus and Josephus as well as various other background sources to the New Testament. But the fact is few of us do. Given our time constraints, one way commentaries serve the preacher is by doing much of the historical legwork for us. Out of this resovoir of historical, social and cultural research, the biblical scholar then shares with us any relevant background information which may improve our understanding of the passage.

2) Content Clarification.
Commentaries can act as a check on technical issues – not least those relating to the original language. Frankly, many of us lay preachers are not as sharp on our biblical Greek or Hebrew as we might be! Whilst we strive to grow in this proficiency, it is useful to have gifted individuals who can ‘correct us’ on those ocassions when our prior study is shown to be deficient.

3) Problem Discussion.
Not all commentaries wrestle with interpretive problems (instead they just take ‘a line’) but the best will. Such good commentaries cannot possibly cover every interpretive position on a ‘problem point’ (there may be hundreds of views!), but the most plausible positions will be laid out. Supplementing this, the supporting arguments for each view will also be added. This then allows the preacher to consider for himself what is the most viable position without simply taking the commentaries view as ‘a given.’

4) Legitimate Application.
Some commentaries – especially those which have more of a ‘preaching focus’ – will suggest to the preacher ‘lines of application.’ This can be very stimulating. Although no commentator knows our particular congregation (and hence the specific application for them), the preacher can nevetheless be shown ‘a broad road’ of how the text relates to life. I cannot count how many times a commentator has proposed a line of application that otherwise I wouldn’t have begun to think about.

5) Enriched Communication.
Mike Bullmore says that he is an invenerate plunderer of words! He points out that words, unlike sentences (that’s plagiarism…), don’t possess copyright! In relation to this commentators often have a rich vocabluary and simply reading them will expand our communication possibilities. Anything to enhance the variety of our language when coming to write the sermon will add colour to our explanation of the text.


My Favourite Quote On Commentaries

March 10, 2008

“…two types of pastors who will never make great preachers: The first will not listen to what others say; the other will say only what others say.” (Bryan Chapell, Christ Centered Preaching)


Should We Only Use Modern Commentaries?

March 8, 2008

My answer.

(Photo by SixSteps, Creative Commons License)


VERY Basic Sermon Components – Audio

March 8, 2008

Before going into each of the particulars, in 13 minutes I outline the main sermon components.

Other Audio in the Series

Digging Into the Text pt 1 – Colin Adams
Digging Into the Text pt 2 – Colin Adams
Preaching Different Genres – Peter Grainger
Commentary Capers – Colin Adams


Commentary Capers – Audio

March 7, 2008

During last night’s opening session I spent half an hour on the topic “Commentary Capers.” This was a very basic introduction to biblical commentaries, their usefulness and dangers in preaching preparation.

(My messy desk!)