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Is there enough Bible in today’s sermons?

My sermon preparation had been sideswiped by a situation that knocked me out emotionally. I sat trying to transfer my study of the week to keyboard, but just couldn’t. After two decades of weekly sermon prep I have learned stuff happens, so I let it go and did something else. But early Sunday morning I was still running on fumes and figured this one might just make Spurgeon roll over in his grave. I resigned myself to simply opening the passage and trusting the Lord.

In my preaching I seek a balanced tri-unity of biblical exegesis (drawing out God’s truth), cultural exegesis (interpreting the world in which we live), and personal exegesis (lead each person and the Christ-centred community to be the locale where the truth of the Word and the reality of their world collide and bring transformation). On that morning I didn’t think I hit any of these well. But then I was amazed again at the power of the Word. People raved at how great it was just to work our way through the text and have it opened up in real time.  In those comments the preacher heard a sermon.

There is no excuse for sloppy preaching preparation, but that morning was a good corrective. We preachers often think we need to entertain you. After all, you watched Hollywood the night before and can find “better” preachers than most of us on TV or online. So, we sometimes go light on what you hunger for. I’m sorry. Are you?

Is there enough Bible in today’s sermons? That’s a loaded question, but this preacher has learned it’s not the volume of Scripture we throw at you, but how deeply we take you into it and awaken a hunger and thirst for you to continue the sermon after the sermon.

The word “sermon” comes from a Latin word meaning “discourse” or “conversation.” So, it would seem the preacher’s job is to begin a life and community dialogue over the Word that the Church as ruled authoritative for faith and life as it reveals the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Perhaps, then, the real question should be “Is there enough Bible in our daily lives?” If a sermon doesn’t increase the “yeses” to this latter question, then the answer to the former is probably “no.”

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About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Phil Wagler is lead pastor of Gracepoint Community Church in Surrey, BC.

About the author