Why Just One Text?
Why Just One Text?
Dear Mr. Robinson,
I am a teaching elder in my church (we have no pastor). I have studied your book Biblical Preaching, and I am currently involved in discussions on preaching in our church. I have told the men that I believe the best way of preaching is take a text (best a series on a Bible book) and preach from its context from the past to the present. The other leaders in my church would form a sermon via a number of texts. Their response was: Where do you get your proof that your method (as explained in your book) is better than ours?
There is no way to prove that taking a single passage is the "best" method of preaching. The selection of this method goes back to the nature of the Bible itself. Each book in the Bible was circulated on its own before it was placed within the book we call the Bible. That is, the Book of Luke circulated among the churches. The people in those churches didn't have the Letter to the Ephesians to look at. Therefore, each book has to be studied on its own terms. You can't define what Paul meant by "faith" in Ephesians by turning to the Book of Hebrews any more than someone today can define what I mean by exposition by turning to the work of some other preacher whom I have never met.
If people do use a number of texts, they cannot "proof text" and do justice to the Word of God. Each passage needs to be studied in its context. Often when preachers go through several passages, they take passages out of their context. They want the wording without considering the meaning. It is much harder to do expository preaching from several passages. It is hard enough to accurately interpret a single passage in its context.
I hope this helps.
Do you have a question about preaching for senior editor Haddon Robinson? Please e-mail him at editor@PreachingToday.com.
Haddon Robinson is senior editor of PreachingToday.com; Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; and author of Biblical Preaching.
Haddon Robinson was a preacher and teacher of preachers all over the world. His last teaching position was as the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.