Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Preaching Epistolary Literature (Azurdia)

"When interpreting/preaching New Testament epistles keep in mind that . . .

1.                  They tend to follow a standard form

                        Name of writer (e.g., “Paul”)

                        Name of recipient (e.g., “to the church of God in Corinth”)

                        Greeting (e.g., “Grace and peace to you from God our Father”)

                        Prayer wish or thanksgiving (e.g., “I always thank God for you . . .”)


        Final Greeting and Farewell (e.g., “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you”)

2.                  They are “occasional” documents

“When listeners experience the ‘questions’ or ‘problems’ posed by the original situation, the answer supplied by the biblical text will arrive with enormous power” (Terry G. Carter, J. Scott Duvall, J. Daniel Hays, Preaching God’s Word, p 178).

3.                  They are culturally conditioned

“. . . there is no such thing as a divinely ordained culture” (Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth, p. 65).

4.                  They require a fish-eye lens and a magnifying glass

When making application from the New Testament epistles keep in mind that . . .

1.         A text cannot mean what it could have never meant to its author or original readers

“The application must be that of the text.  It must be aimed at the change the Holy Spirit intended.  If I do not know the purposes of a text, I cannot apply it” (John F. Bettler, “Application” in The Preacher And Preaching, ed. by Samuel Logan, p. 339)

2.         The theology set forth is “task theology”

3.         We need to be accurate and fresh

4.         Moral imperatives always grow out of redemptive indicatives

“It is striking that in the epistles the imperatives never function without the indicative” (Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher And The Ancient Text, p. 326) ."

A text cannot mean
what it never meant

The skillful expositor
opens up his text,
or rather permits it to open itself
before our eyes

The greatest temptation
you have as a preacher
is to be relevant at the expense
of being biblical

Lecture notes by Art Azurdia per TMS D. Min (July 2016).