Exegesis that produces God-centered sermons
The two presuppositions we looked at last week lead to two practices.
The first practice is exegetical. Exegesis involves studying the text: examining the context and structure, and examining the passage using literary, grammatical, and historic-cultural interpretation. In exegesis, we try to understand the meaning of the text, and the author's intent in writing it.
As we prepare God-centered sermons, our exegesis must ask two questions of the text. First, "What is the vision of God in this passage?" What does it reveal about God's character, acts, grace, and will? God is present in every text, even if the text does not explicitly mention him.
Second, what "aspect of our fallen condition [in the text]...requires and displays God's provision?" Haddon Robinson writes:
This human factor is the condition that men and women have in common with the characters in the Bible. The human factor may show up in sins such as rebellion, unbelief, adultery, greed, laziness, selfishness, or gossip. It may also show up in people puzzling about the human condition as a result of sickness, grief, anxiety, doubt, trials, or the sense that God has misplaced their names and addresses. It is this human factor that usually prompted the prophets and apostles to speak or write what they did.
If we are to preach a biblical message that is both God-centered and relevant, then we must answer these two questions at the exegesis stage of preparation. The preacher must discover the God-centered message and its application during exegesis.
Tomorrow: a second practice