Reading through Daniel Wallace’s fifteen categories for the use of the adjectival genitive (yes, there are fifteen!!), I was reminded that no one in my congregation had ever asked me about the use of the genitive…not even once. Doesn’t anyone care that there is an “attributive” genitive and a “attributed” genitive and that they’re considered opposites and that there’s thirteen more where they came from? Apparently not. It is a shock to many recent seminary graduate digestive tracts when their various pontifications are rejected in favor of more basic congregant questions like “where’s my Bible?”
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m implying (or as Bush says, “don’t misunderestimate me”). I believe in genitives and I even believe in irregular verbs. However, it is easy for us as preachers to slip into “seminary mode” and preach with the shotgun of exegetical insight rather than articulating the Word with pastoral care. There will even be times where you go to great lengths to be pastoral and folks will still complain that the message is too heady. The solution is to strive for balance where the grind of hard exegesis is hidden from sight yet the fruit is laid bare for all to see. One exercise helps me tremendously in this area: fellowship. The more I intertwine my life with those in the congregation the more I see opportunities for the Word of God to be richly applied in their lives. A pastor must spend an appropriate amount of time understanding the Word and preparing for Sunday but he should never use that as an excuse to ignore God’s people. Every pastor needs to find that balance in his life. This is at least part of what Peter meant when he said, “Shepherd the flock of God among you” (1 Pet. 5:2).