Chapter 1

Core Convictions of Biblical Preaching

What we really believe about scripture and preaching determines how we preach.

To do the tough work of being biblical preachers, men and women in ministry must be committed to certain truths.

1. The Bible is the Word of God

As Augustine put it, " When the Bible speaks, God speaks. " This is the conviction that if I can really understand a passage in its context, then what I know is what God wants to say. (I don't believe that many evangelicals as well as liberals really believe this.)

2. The entire Bible is the Word of God

Not only Romans but Leviticus, not only Ephesians but Esther. Not merely the " hot " passages but the cold ones.

3. The Bible is self-authenticating

If I can really understand a passage in its context, then what I know is what God wants to say.

If people can be exposed to an understanding of the Scriptures on a regular basis, then they do not need arguments about the veracity of Scripture. Therefore, a listener or reader doesn't have to buy into the first two commitments before God can work in a person's life through his Word.

4. This leads to a " Thus saith the Lord " approach to preaching

I'm not referring to a homiletical method here, but a desire to open up the Scriptures so that the authority of the message rests on the Bible. (This works against the anti-authoritarian spirit of our society.)

5. The student of the Bible must try to get at the intent of the biblical writer

The first questions are " What did the biblical writer want to say to the biblical reader? Why? " The Reader Response theory embraced by many literary scholars today will not work for the study of the Bible. Simply put, " The Bible cannot mean what it has not meant. "

6. The Bible is a book about God

It is not a religious book of advice about the " answers " we need about a happy marriage, sex, work, or losing weight. Although the Scriptures reflect on many of those issues, they are above all about who God is and what God thinks and wills. I understand reality only if I have an appreciation for who he his and what he desires for his creation and from his creation.

7. We don't " make the Bible relevant " ; we show its relevance

Truth is as relevant as water to thirst or food to hunger. Modern advertising creates needs that don't really exist to move the merchandise.