Posts Tagged ‘Preaching’


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)


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


Reading >>> Research = Oxgyen >>>Breathing

February 18, 2008

I suggested in the second lecture of The Preaching Course that the second basic component of research is reading. My introductory comment ran something like this:

If I may state the obvious: research of any text is built upon reading the text. We cannot re-search the passage unless we’re patiently reading it. As indispensible as oxygen is to breathing, so is reading to research – you require one to do the other. Therefore one of the skills we must begin to try and master is simply close, careful and critical reading of the text.


The Most Neglected Component of Research?

February 13, 2008

Speaking at our first preaching seminar (Digging into the text pt 1) I suggested that there are three basic practices involved in research. Taking the risk of perhaps over-simplifying things, I said that biblical research involves the triad of praying, reading and questioning (the text).

Regarding prayer (perhaps the most neglected of the three?) I proposed that “the one who will speak for God in the pulpit, must firstly speak to God in the study.” In other words: prayer must permeate the whole preparation process. It should not merely be the emergency chord we pull for a few panicked moments in the pre-service vestry. Faris Whitesell explains such pervasive prayer better than I:

“The preacher must be a man of prayer. . . . He should pray for his messages . . . soak them in prayer, . . . pray as he goes into the pulpit, pray as he preaches insofar as that is possible, and follow up his sermons with prayer .” (from The Art of Biblical Preaching)


Whitefield – Praying For A “Manner of Men”

February 12, 2008

The idea of a preacher being more than someone who performs a certain function, but a kind of person, is borne out well in the following quote from George Whitefield. Whitefield’s prayer, recently quoted by John Piper, would be one worthy to voice from all our lips:

“Yea…that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more . . . raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.”


Relying on the Spirit with APTAT

February 11, 2008

One area Tim was prevented from developing further last session was the point, “Relying on the Spirit of God.” Tim had hoped to share John Piper’s A.P.T.A.T which for years Piper has utilised as a practical tool before, during and after the sermon. The basic outline is:

A – Admit my helplessness (John 15:5)
P – Pray for help (Psalm 50:15)
T – Trust a specific promise (Isaiah 66:2)
A – Act with confidence in God (Isaiah 55:11)
T – Thank God (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Its just a practical tool of course, not recorded in Leviticus. But I wonder what other preachers use to lean upon the Spirit’s help in the context of preaching?


“The Preacher’s Priorities” – Tim Bridges

February 9, 2008

Find below the outline of Tim Bridges excellent session from last Thursday night: “the Preacher’s Priorities.” I’ve also added some of my favourite quotes.

I The Pervasive Priority
1) The Glory of God

“…‘glorifying God’ becomes a pursuit that consumes our lives…not a posture we assume when we stand in the pulpit.”

II Personal Priorities
1) ‘Live the Gospel’ before you ‘Preach the Gospel’.
“Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.” (Jonathan Edwards)

2) Cultivate genuine affections for God.
“There is a big difference between knowing that God is awesome and being in awe of God.”

“Do not ‘perform the text’! Fight to be ‘pierced by the text’ so that affections displayed in public match affections in cultivated in private”

“No man preacheth that sermon well that doth not first preach it in his own heart” (John Owen)

III Pulpit Priorities
1) Preach with ‘desperate confidence’ in the Spirit of God.
2) Preach the Cross of Christ as the ultimate ‘context’ for your text.
“I take my text, and make a beeline for the cross.” (Charles Spurgeon)

3) Preach to be understood.
“It is a byword among us: ‘It was a very plain sermon’. And I say again, the plainer the better.” (William Perkins)

(By the way, Tim Bridges is the course co-leader and blogs over at the Conventicle.)


Called to Preach #1 – Ash On the Four Criteria

February 5, 2008

With The Preaching Course commencing this Thursday, Unashamed Workman will be varying in format. For the next week or so I hope to point to a number of articles relating to the theme of being “called to preach.”

First up is Christopher Ash with How Do I Know If Preaching Is For Me?. In this eight page article, Ash suggests four criteria to help discern a possible preaching calling. They are: 1) godly character, 2) a clear gospel, 3) ability to teach, and 4) a love for people.


Back from Buckie

January 30, 2008

It really was a great privilege and joy to preach at Buckie North Church this last weekend for their winter version of Keswick. Thank you for praying as I preached four times on the book of Jeremiah and once on Luke 18.


Reflecting on the weekend, a trio of encouragements come to mind. First, seeing a ‘healthy ecumenism’ in that part of Northern Scotland – one that is centred around Christ and His gospel and which overlooks denominational persuation. Second, the warm sense of community and a hospitality that in many respects evidenced the love of Christ. Third, a genuine hunger among many to hear God’s living Word was thrilling to see (not least by one who is a preacher!).

Continue to pray for the nation of Scotland. Lord, may there be a renewed desire across this land to hear and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as a renewed desire to preach it!


A Brain-Orientated Preacher?

January 29, 2008

Today’s Classic Materials is a quote from Geoff Thomas, pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth, Wales

“One of the great perils that face preachers . . .is the constant danger of lapsing into a purely cerebral form of proclamation, which falls exclusively upon the intellect. Men become obsessed with doctrine and end up as brain-oriented preachers. There is consequently a fearful impoverishment in their hearers emotionally, devotionally, and practically. Such pastors are men of books and not men of people; they know the doctrines, but they know nothing of the emotional side of religion. They set little store upon experience or upon constant fellowship and interaction with almighty God. It is one thing to explain the truth of Christianity to men and women; it is another thing to feel the overwhelming power of the sheer loveliness and enthrallment of Jesus Christ and communicate that dynamically to the whole person who listens so that there is a change of such dimensions that he loves Him with all his heart and soul and mind and strength.”

Geoffrey Thomas, “Powerful Preaching,” chapter 14 in The Preacher and Preaching, edited by Samuel T. Logan. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1986, p. 369 (HT: Expositors Quote for the Week)