Jun 16, 2013
Reading the Text to Preach the Text
Al Fasol, in an article entitled “Preaching from Malachi,” points out the importance careful and repeated reading of the text to be preached. Fasol states,
“The first step, then, in preparing to preach the book of Malachi is to read the book of Malachi. Since there are only fifty-seven verses in the four chapters of the book of Malachi, plan to read the book at least thirty times. Read from your favorite version of the Bible four or five times. Next read from other versions a few times each. Finally, read from your favorite version several more times.”
A few paragraphs later Fasol cautions,
“One of the basic, oft repeated, and most common mistakes made in preaching is the neglect of careful reading of Scripture. The ‘preacher’ who is not immersed in the Word of God usually reads ideas into Scripture rather than being fed with ideas from Scripture. The result, predictably, is an anemic, shallow, biblically inaccurate, albeit well-intentioned harangue about something that is bothering the ‘preacher’ at the moment. The best thing that can be said about such ‘preachers’ is that they are more concerned about whether their sermon idea will ‘preach’ than they are about whether their sermon idea is true.”
Al Fasol, “Preaching from Malachi,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 30 (1987): 32.
The one thing that I would add is that those who have facility with the languages should also read the text in its original language.