Tuesday, August 09, 2011

THE OPENING OF THE HOLY TEXT


IN MY PRESENT SERIES OUT OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, one of the most difficult aspects is being true to the text.  As never before I have prayed, "Lord God, help me know and preach the truth regarding Thy truth.  To put it another way, after reading a number of commentaries on the passages in question, all I truly desire to do is to speak the truth. I want to get it right. It means serious, prayerful study, and that the Holy Spirit will not only illumine my heart and mind, but also the hearts and minds of those who listen.


Today I came across and interview with the late John Stott. The interview was conducted by Albert Mohler for Preaching magazine in 1987. I very much appreciated Dr. Stott's explanation of the importance of the study and proclamation of the Word of God. In defining Biblical preaching Stott said,
I believe that to preach or to expound the scripture is to open up the inspired text with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God’s voice is heard and His people obey Him. I gave that definition at the Congress on Biblical Exposition and I stand by it, but let me expand a moment.
My definition deliberately includes several implications concerning the scripture. First, it is a uniquely inspired text. Second, the scripture must be opened up. It comes to us partially closed, with problems which must be opened up.

Beyond this, we must expound it with faithfulness and sensitivity. Faithfulness relates to the scripture itself. Sensitivity relates to the modern world. The preacher must give careful attention to both.

We must always be faithful to the text, and yet ever sensitive to the modern world and its concerns and needs. When this happens the preacher can come with two expectations. First, that God’s voice is heard because He speaks through what He has spoken. Second, that His people will obey Him — that they will respond to His Word as it is preached.
As I continue to study God's Word, I can only pray to handle it with such seriousness of resolve. To rightly handle the word of truth as the Apostle Paul admonished Pastor Timothy. (2 Timothy 2:15)
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