Implications or Applications?: Preaching Biblical Narratives

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Some preachers produce abundant applications (or, implications?) for their congregations from biblical narratives, whether they are Old Testament historical narratives like Judges 4 or New Testament Gospel narratives like Mark 3. Other preachers insist they should offer only theological and practical implications. Still others refuse to recognize any implications or applications from Scripture narratives. They declare, “Biblical narrative is only descriptive, not prescriptive.” Which practice is best? Which practice is legitimate and in keeping with sound biblical interpretation?

New Testament Teaching

No matter what the topic, one should always begin with the Scriptures themselves. What does the Word of God teach?… Continue reading

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Biblical Genealogies: A Sample Meditation

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Our previous blog post (March 2) discussed the purposes for biblical genealogies. Now, please read the genealogy found in 1 Chronicles 1:17–27,

    17 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech. 18 Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. 19 To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg (for in his days the earth was divided), and his brother’s name was Joktan. 20 Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.

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Is Preaching the “Heart” of Worship?

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Last week the esteemed Al Mohler reprised an excellent article he originally posted several years ago, “Expository Preaching—the Antidote to Anemic Worship.” I recommend it highly. As the title suggests, he argues that much of the corporate worship in today’s evangelical churches is weak because the preaching is weak. Whether the style is choir-and-orchestra traditional or guitar-and-drums contemporary, it is often the case that “music fills the space and drives the energy of the worship service.” Music, that is, instead of the Word of God accurately preached.

It’s not my purpose here to disagree with this well-made point but rather to build on it.… Continue reading

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Biblical Genealogies: Begetting a Devotional Reading

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You’ve heard it and maybe even said it yourself, “When I get to a genealogy in my Bible reading, I just skip it.” Genealogies (lists of names telling who is related to whom) can be boring and intimidating—especially if you have to read all those hard-to-pronounce names aloud for someone else to hear. However, Paul did not exclude the biblical genealogies when he wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17 esv).… Continue reading

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Psalms and Hymns: Preach the Psalm Headings

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The psalm is a hymn that is sung to an instrument, either a lyre or a psaltery. According to the spiritual or analogical sense, the poem is a contemplation of truth that happens not only in the mind but also in the music as with measured harmony. The psalm denotes actions that are done according to right reason; so as one sings he follows the way of an effective life; he sings who follows a life of contemplation.[1]

Didymus the Blind (ca. 313–398 AD) was an Alexandrian exegete whom Jerome admired. Origen influenced Didymus in his exegesis and theology. Origen interpreted, taught, and preached from the Psalter’s headings.… Continue reading

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