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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;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

 

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.

and/or

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.

 

Principle Preaching:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Replies to “Preaching The Obvious”

    1. Let me begin with the Introduction

      #1 — don’t begin with — “alright turn with me if you will to . . . . ” — that is not to say that you cannot position your audience as to where you are, but there is no real introduction to the message

      Leave your audience uncertain as to where you are going — begin with something like . . . . — off the cuff

      “being second — they say birth order has an impact on the development of a child . . . . . there will be many this year who will begin a position after the successful years of a previous leader in the business world . . . . . it happens in the ministry . . . . that was me at the all wise age of 28 . . . . . there are some examples of following a long tern blessed leader in the OT — Elisha – or Elisha – Gehazi or . . . . . .

      then set up your first principle point: [Which might – will be in my example here] “Don’t Let the Past Success of Another Hinder Seeing Yourself and Your Gifts as God’s Plan Today”

      So the script would go something like this . . . .
      “When you are the second or third child — when you follow a previous successful leader in the business world — there will be a danger which you will face and must overcome.

      Many a person finding themselves in such a situation — Many a child who watches the success of an older brother or sister — stumbles o ver this danger — this snare.

      And God well knows of this danger which can and too often plagues the thinking patterns of us as believers — trying to know and navigate God’s will for our lives . . . . .

      Depending on my second or third principle point — I might bring some of it-them into this introduction as well — but whether I would or not — I need to connect it with my introduction . . . .

      #2) The Lord not only gives one leadership, but He clears the path for that forward-moving leadership

      [Connecting with the introduction and theme so it all sticks together as a whole] “One of the difficulties that makes that danger, that snare so problematic is that a new leader, that second son or daughter — may not realize that if the Lord has a role for them to assume, but that that fact also means that the Lord will clear a path – maybe and probably a different path than another was given — but a path that fits them and their gifts and abilities

      *****

      this is just off the cuff and given time it could be develped better or differently — but wanted to address the introduction and how the main principle points flow into and out of it.

      ==============================================
      #2) flow the “to refresh your memory . . . . .” content into the message as whole

      “Moses has been there through the events found in Exodus, Numbers, Deut — and through all those chapters the coming MEssiah – promised in Genesis 3 can be seen — and even Moses was meant to picture Jesus as stated in Genesis 18 — raise up a prophet lik unto me” says Moses — It will be the same Messiah later taught by the prophets —

      I say that because that way the message sticks together as a whole — it is all one picture, not a gallery.
      ========================

      #3) [Your Message] “Now the book of Joshua — Moses has died and . . . . . given a huge task and it is very appropriate that God tells him — vs. 5”

      “As you know, Moses has died short of going into the promised land. It will be Joshua who navigates that part of life for the nation of Israel

      And God is going to talk to Joshua at this point of changed leadership — and God is going to speak to Joshua words that everyone of us would want to hear when following such a leader
      — when taking over such an immense task
      — when assuming such a serious responsibility
      — when dealing with the life and death of real people who will fight real battle — hand to hand battles – with sword and shield
      — when moving from a watcher of great leadership to chief commander

      What would you want to hear? Exactly what God says — “As I was with Moses . . . . ”

      The Lord knows that speaking to Joshua — personally
      and
      that speaking these words

      will make all the difference — because the danger (back to principle-point) — the snare which trips up many such a leader — following on the heels of great and steady leadership — is uncertainty.

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