And Don’t forget to Preach Theology

photo-1430747562296-5556d17a15a5This is a response to Nick Norelli’s Preach the Word, in which he says, “The average believer that I’ve encountered just wants to know what the Bible says and find ways to apply it to life.”  This comes after Nick says that Bible study shouldn’t be turned into miniature seminary lectures and “People who want seminary lectures should by all means attend seminary.”

Nick’s own position:

Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it. Don’t spend too much time speculating.”

But what does Nick mean by “Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it?”  Is he advocating a run-on commentary and then highlight theological truths as you go?

My own position: the preacher should first establish the theology of the text, support it with the surrounding material, and then apply it to the listeners.

And it is worth keeping in mind that every text of Scripture, to which we turn for our sermons, is first shaped by its own theology.  It is our task as students of the Word to first discover what that theology is.

However, I do agree with Nick that we should not be spending too much time speculating.

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7 Responses to And Don’t forget to Preach Theology

  1. Nick Norelli says:

    I’m not not advocating a run-on commentary that highlights theological truths along the way. That seems to me to be a valid approach. And I’m with you on the preacher first establishing the theology of the text (meaning that theology which flows forth from his or her examination of the text). But when it is presented to the congregation it should be in such a way that the preacher doesn’t have to show his/her work, which is to say that the congregation mainly wants to get to the application portion and in many cases couldn’t care less about the painstaking exegesis that went into arriving at that point.

    What I’m really advocating is a culture of accessibility in the congregational context. Make it plain for the people without unnecessary background information gained from biblical studies or endless theological speculation such as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Hope that helps to make a little more sense of what I was getting at.

  2. Jon Hughes says:

    A truly gifted preacher will be able to make deep theological truths readily accessible. All Christians are called to be theologians; hence the importance of the above. What is vitally important in my view is that the preacher gets the ‘big picture’ across when preaching through any specific passage, so that the congregation can grasp the grand narrative of Scripture: how the parts fit into the whole.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Thanks for your input. But what do you mean by “big picture”? Is it the same as an overarching theological truth, which drives everything else?

      • Jon Hughes says:

        Yes, the overarching theme that God has determined to redeem the world through Jesus the Messiah.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      Absolutely, Nick. Grand narratives are far more glorious than angels dancing on the head of a pin. Unfortunately, a number of those who are most serious about the Bible are obsessed with the latter!

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