Preaching — Which Is Rather Uninspiring!
I have often described some preaching as . . . .
“A Running Commentary On The Obvious.”
It is a running commentary on the obvious content which most any reader of the Scripture can already see — most of it without a teacher-preacher.
There is little to nothing that is being said which is not already said in the passage.
Even worse, the preacher reads the passage at the beginning of the service, only to merely re-read it throughout the message with some additional small points or an expansion of the concept which stands behind this-or-that word.
A Commentary On The Obvious Illustrated:
II Corinthians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia
I. Paul the Person:
First of all, we notice that this is written by Paul. Paul is the author of II Corinthians — and he has already written the book of I Corinthians.
Paul was saved on the road to Damascus.
He was originally Saul of Tarsus.
While he was persecuting Christians as a devoted and passionate Pharisee, the Lord appeared to him and turned his life around.
Paul talks about how passionate he was as a Pharisee in Philippians 3:5 & 6
“Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Paul was in Corinth, as seen in Acts 17 — there he was later joined by Silas and Timothy — now Silas and Timothy . . . . . . .
Paul was with Barnabas and John Mark — what happened was that . . . . . and so Silas and Timothy have partnered with Paul . . . . . . . .
II. Paul’s Position:
Paul was an apostle. What makes one an apostle is found in Acts 1:22 — where one of the 12 disciples, who were all to become apostles – was replaced. Judas had betrayed the Lord — you remember in the Gospel accounts . . . . .
. . . . . So now we have to replace Judas, and the criterion are two-fold according to Peter . . . . Paul doesn’t meet that two-fold criterion, but he has seen the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and therefore calls himself an apostle born out of due season.
III. Paul’s Permission:
Paul states that his ministry and calling is by the will of God. That is how all of us should be living our lives — in the will of God.
Now God’s will can be known and should be known as we live life and make those directional decisions in our individual and family lives. . . . . .
We can know the will of God several ways . . . .
IV. Paul’s Partner:
Paul’s partner is Timothy. Where did Timothy come from? Let’s review a little of the history of Timothy . . . . .
V. Paul’s People:
To whom was Paul writing? He identifies the audience for us — the people of God who are living in Corinth.
The word “church” is the word “ekklesia.” It is a compound word of “out of” and “called.” The church is a group of people called out of the world
Who is “the church of God.” What makes you part of the church? . . . . . The church began in Acts 2 . . . . they were filled with the Holy Spirit — now the filling of the Spirit is not the same as . . . . .
Now those living in Corinth were facing some real challenges . . . . . Let’s go back to I Corinthians . . . .
History tells us that life in Corinth during Paul’s day was . . . .
We could keep going on this passage — or give me any other passage (along with a 40,000 spelling dictionary of words ).
“A Running Commentary on the Obvious” . . . .
√ typically opens up the door to go any which way the speaker wants to go, regardless of what the passage is actually arguing.
√ may develop a particular theological truth — as if this were a class in “systematic theology.”
√ sometimes expands on the biblical history of this-or-that event / person.
√ may take a word an define it – explain it.
√ can bring in secular history relating to this-or-that.
√ might jump to other passages and develop the concepts in those passages.
√ can explore and define various general biblical concepts.
“A running commentary on the obvious” can do a little and lot of everything — everything but develop the argument of the passage and capture it in a concisely stated principle(s)!
When this is done . . . .
The outline is made up of points which come out of a word – or a synonym of that word – in the passage.
The outline is made up of points which categorize the concept found with the word(s) in the verse and/or passage.
When this is done . . . .
The outline only repeats the content already stated in the passage in an alliterated way.
The outline becomes very predictable.
The outline can be developed rather easily (as I did above in about 10 minutes).
The outline can be developed in an entirely different way since it is not dependent on the verse or passage, but the creative alliterative clumping of ideas found within the passage.
When a preacher grasps that . . . . .
the Bible is designed to change the way we see and think about life, and
that this change comes through principles and truths which will guide our thinking
THEN the main points become the statement of key principles and truths.
The principles and truths become the main points of the message.
The goal of such preaching is to . . . .
establish biblical principles which the hearer immediately sees is found and/or stated in the passage.
state “sticky principles – truths” which stay with the hearer. Alliterated outlines are quickly forgotten by the listeners, but not “sticky truths.”
provide a principle which is practical — applicational — to living life tomorrow at work.
state principles which have historical, situational, and universal application — just as natural principles, truths, and laws follow that pattern.