Nov 23, 2019


Sermon transitions can help make a good sermon into a great sermon. But just as transitions in life (new job, new relationships, etc.) they can be a challenge. Abe Kuruvilla’s recent book on preaching, A Manual for Preaching (Baker, 2019), discusses different types of sermonic transitions (pp. 131-32). There are word/phrase transitions such as “in addition to . . . ,” “moreover . . . ,” and “besides . . . .” Questions can also be used as transitions. Consider, “Why is this so?” or “What does the text say?” To his categories I would add that illustrations, anecdotes, and humor can have transitional functions. There are a number of ways to get from point A to point B. But transitions help your hearers to make the move mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually so make sure that you take adequate time in your sermon preparation to think it through. For me, this often means talk it through because I find it helpful to hear the transition.

Nov 22, 2019

Preaching Versus Teaching

I have blogged several times about the somewhat artificial distinction between preaching and teaching. I have also blogged on this topic while referencingHughes Oliphant Old's works on the history of preaching here. I want to return to that topic and Oliphant once again with this observation on the Great Commission in Matthew.
Again we see evidence that in the Synoptic Gospels at least, the words "preaching" and "teaching can be used synonymously. We might expect to read that the apostles were to go to all peoples and κήρυξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, proclaim the gospel but instead we read that they are to go διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς, teaching them to observe everything Jesus had commanded them. In light of a text like this it is rather hard to drive a wedge between preaching the gospel of salvation and teaching the Christian way of life. Obviously according to this text Christian preaching is to do both.
The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church: Volume 1: The Biblical Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 151-52.

Nov 21, 2019

Jeremiah as the Center of the Old Testament

Walter Brueggemann suggests that the book of Jeremiah is the center of the Old Testament. I am not sure that I would agree but here is a diagram that he supplies showing how he think it works.

Walter Brueggemann, The Theology of the Book of Jeremiah. Old Testament Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 184

Nov 19, 2019

Two Restrictions for a Theological Focus Statement

In Abe Kuruvilla's recent volume on preaching, he discusses what he calls a theological focus statement which, if I understand it properly, is a curated or distilled statement of what the author is doing in a given text. He gives two restrictions about the theological focus statement.
  1. That it shouldn't be an imperative since imperatives should be reserved for application.
  2. That it should not have any first or second person pronouns since presumably all God's people are being addressed.
But, I wonder about the second restrictions. I can see how a first person pronoun might not be the best. But would using something like "you" somehow impinge on the universality of the statement? I'm not so sure.

Abraham Kuruvilla, A Manual for Preaching: The Journey from Text to Sermon (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2019), 41

Nov 18, 2019

Psalm 3 Links

I have been working on a commentary on the Psalms. I have decided to compile some of my favorite links that I discovered during my research. There is a mix of exegetical and sermonic links. Here is what I have for Psalm 2 (in no particular order). Feel free to mention any that you find helpful in the comments section.

Spokane Bible Church:

Literary analysis of Psalm 3:

Analysis by C. J. Labuschagne: 

William Barrick’s notes:

Nov 17, 2019

Eat Like the Ancient Babylonians

I have never really thought much about eating ancient Babylonian food but for those who might be interested this NPR story might be a place to start.