Processing and Principlizing the Biblical Text from Rediscovering Expository Preaching

The following section of Rediscovering Expository Preaching was an excellent section.  I think that it balances welll the various factors that should properly interact in the event of Biblical expository preaching.

Processing and Principlizing the Biblical Text

A man in tune with God’s Spirit and Word is ready to begin a process to discover not only what God originally meant by what He said, but also appropriate principles and applications for today.
1. Processing the biblical text—A man cannot hope to preach effectively without first having worked diligently and thoroughly through the biblical text. This is the only way the expositor can acquire God’s message. Two preachers from different eras comment on this essential feature:

A man cannot hope to preach the Word of God accurately until he has first engaged in a careful, exhaustive exegesis of his text. Herein lies the problem, for competent exegesis requires time, brain power, “blood, sweat, and tears,” all saturated with enormous doses of prayer. (John A. Sproule)

You will soon reveal your ignorance as an expositor if you do not study; therefore diligent reading will be forced upon you. Anything which compels the preacher to search the grand old Book is of immense service to him. If any are jealous lest the labor should injure their constitutions, let them remember that mental work up to a certain point is most refreshing, and where the Bible is the theme toil is delight. It is only when mental labor passes beyond the bounds of common sense that the mind becomes enfeebled by it, and this is not usually reached except by injudicious persons, or men engaged on topics which are unrefreshing and disagreeable; but our subject is a recreative one, and to young men like ourselves the vigorous use of our faculties is a most healthy exercise. (C. H. Spurgeon)

2. Principlizing the biblical text—Preaching does not stop with understanding ancient languages, history, culture, and customs. Unless the centuries can be bridged with contemporary relevance in the message, then the preaching experience differs little from a classroom encounter. One must first process the text for original meaning and then principlize the text for current applicability. One’s study falls short of the goal if this step is omitted or slighted.

MacArthur, J. (1997). Rediscovering expository preaching (15–16). Dallas: Word Pub.


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