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God's Letter of Intent (pt. 1)

Six questions that reveal what God meant to say in a text.

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This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two.

What follows rests on three assumptions.

First, all Scripture has two authors, one divine and at least one human.

Second, God intends something by all he speaks. He always speaks purposefully.

Third, by the grace of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, followers of Jesus may adequately discern what he intends to say and do in any passage of Scripture by prayerful, careful, submissive attentiveness to the words human authors use, in their respective literary, canonical, cultural, and theological contexts.

If any one of these assumptions is false, preachers are on a fool's errand. They have no authoritative, discernable message from God.

Our task as preachers is not to say whatever comes to mind when studying the Bible, but to discern what God had in mind, what he intended, when inspiring the human author to write it, and to show how that intent is relevant for our hearers. This article focuses on the first half of that task: discovering ...

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