Having established that the purpose of preaching is to strengthen the bond of love between God and his people as well as the bond of love between Christians, Augustine moves on to speak of how the preacher is to go about the interpretation of Scripture, for the work of the preacher consists of two parts: first, to ascertain the meaning of Scripture, and second, to communicate that meaning once it it ascertained.
(Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Church: Volume 2 The Patristic Age, 388)
Where is the balance of application in preaching today? Some say that sermons have drifted toward the cerebral side of things and have neglected application. However Shaddix questions the conventional wisdom and seems to think it may be the other way around. What do you think?
“More application is preached than exegesis . . . While preaching may have once erred on the side of weighty exegesis with no connection to the real world, its contemporary crime is reverse. Today, application is the sermon and exegesis is the servant.”
[from Jim Shaddix, The Passion Driven Sermon: Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 101.]
I am doing a bit of writing on preaching NT narrative at the moment and thought I would share a fun gem from Dale Ralph Davis who has written a helpful little book on OT narrative called The Word Became Fresh:
H. C. Leupold wrote a commentary on Genesis about 1942-not a bad commentary by the way. At the end of each major segment he included a paragraph marked ‘Homiletical Suggestions.’ At the end of Genesis 38 this section contains only one sentence, which begins: ‘Entirely unsuited to homiletical use.’ Translated that means: Don’t you dare preach on it! Well, that has the same effect as decreeing prohibition over a rack of warm cookies. And rightly so. Difficult texts should tempt you to preach them.
“Many preachers are tempted to identify themselves with the congregation in preaching, rather than with God. This may be the most significant reason for their feeling ill at ease in speaking to their congregation in the second person. Such preachers do not want their people to get the impression that the preacher is holier than them — for preachers know they are not . . . If a man, even for the most noble of motives, identifies himself primarily with the congregation in preaching, rather than with God, the best he will be able to do is speak as one sinner to other sinners about God. He will not be able to speak from God to them” (Wagner, Tongues Aflame, p. 74).
So what do you think?