Faithful exegesis is just the start
What makes a good sermon? Very often, in our circles, we’re obsessed (rightly) with getting the text right. That has to be the starting point. Without faithfulness to the text, the sermon cannot be a good sermon. But it’s the height of naivety to think that’s job done. A good sermon will take the excellent exegesis and apply it faithfully as well. It’s a weak spot for many of us, which is why we’ve asked Bryan Chapell to come and help us at this Spring’s Ministers Conferences – still a very few places available.
But it’s good to be reminded that even then it is not job done, because we have to communicate what we have prepared. To use an extreme example, if we don’t say a word, what we have written on the page is irrelevant – we have to get from the page to the people. This is a softer skill than exegesis – if only there were a ten point plan or a seven step approach. But in reality, the ability to communicate is individual – and whilst there are things we can and should do, each preacher will be different. There is, then, a kind of preaching equation which looks something like this:
PREACHING = FAITHFUL EXEGESIS + APPROPRIATE APPLICATION + GOOD COMMUNICATION
I know things are a little more complex than this – but without (2) and (3) we should not kid ourselves that we have a preached a text.
Oh, and did you know (by the way) that preaching is a spiritual discipline? More of that tomorrow.