May 28, 2008
The Pressure of Infinite Resources
Peter Mead has a good post on the problem that expositors face in having an abundance of resources readily available for study and preparation. After reading Mead's excellent discussion I would add the following.
First, much of good exposition begins with learning how to ask the right questions of the text and the task. By asking the right questions, you can have a better chance of selecting and utilizing the right resources. Such selection automatically reduces the number of resources needed to do the job. Consistently attempting to be exhaustive will only make one exhausted.
Second, after asking the right questions then a good expositor will learn by experience and training the best resources to find the answers to one's questions. Of course, "best" can be subjective. To this I would offer the following comments. The "best" resources are the resources that we have the ability to use. For example, some critical commentaries are too technical for those who lack sufficient academic training to handle them. The "best" resources are those with which we have found to be helpful in the past. This would include not only specific books, but also specific authors. What do our peers use? The "best" resources might be those which others whose opinions we respect have recommended. The "best" resources might be "best" in the sense that we have them in our personal library orresources which are readily accessible in a local library or online. The "best" resources are typically ones which are theologically sound. This is less important with some tools such as lexicons and grammars, etc., but care should be utilized in commentaries and sources that deal with the text, theology, or application of the text.