Home > Biblical Theology, Preaching > A Couple of Thoughts on Biblical Theology and Preaching

A Couple of Thoughts on Biblical Theology and Preaching

If you haven’t discovered the Answers for Pastors section at 9Marks I would highly recommend it. They have topics on Preaching and Biblical Theology, but in a few instances they show how the two intersect. Below are several that I found helpful.

Why should expositional preaching include biblical theology?

How do we get from any given text to the gospel?

How do we do good biblical theology in our preaching?

Why is expositional preaching that ignores biblical theology unsound?

Reading these questions, and in light of some recent conversations, I wanted to give a couple of other thoughts on Biblical Theology and Preaching.

1.) Just because a preacher says the name of Christ, doesn’t mean he is preaching Christ. I believe that many pastors think that by saying the name of Christ (perhaps repeatedly) in their sermons equates to preaching Christ. It doesn’t. Preaching Christ is not just saying the name of Jesus; it is showing the people how the Scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus. A preacher must show how the Old Testament speaks of Christ and explain from the New Testament how Jesus fulfills God’s promises. Don’t just tell me that Jesus is our Passover Lamb—show me from the text. Don’t just say that Jesus is our Deliverer—develop and explain that truth from the entire canon of Scripture. There has been a resurgence of Biblical Theology among Reformed Evangelical pastors for which I am thankful. While I am grateful for their plethora of materials on the topic and the renewed focus on Christ-centered preaching, I think that in some of this excitement many pastors have picked up the lingo, but have no idea how to truly preach Christ from all the Scriptures. If you are a pastor, don’t just say the name of Christ, but demonstrate Christ from all the Scriptures for his glory and the benefit of his people.

2.) Just because a pastor preaches from the Bible does not mean it is good preaching. Our preaching should always be based on the Bible, but there is a difference between preaching from the Bible and preaching from the Bible in a biblical-theological way. Many pastors will open the Bible, preach from it, and even bring out many interesting points from the text, but never preach the Bible based on its own terms. In other words, they never preach it as redemptive-history.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve been in a theological wasteland for years and finally hear a pastor open the Bible and preach from it, then that is certainly better than nothing. However, good preaching not only opens the Bible, but also discloses the glory of Christ from all the Scriptures. Here’s an illustration a friend used to compare these ideas: We can eat beef at McDonalds or we can eat beef at Ruth Chris Steakhouse. At both places we get beef, but the beef at Ruth Chris is much better. The same is true with preaching. We can get preaching that is based on the Bible or we can get preaching that is based on the Bible and brings out the entire flavor and substance of the Scriptures by showing God’s redemptive purposes fulfilled in Christ. There is a difference and we should expect the best.

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  1. March 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I wanted to say “thank you” for your thoughts. Your statement regarding the difference between saying the name of Christ and preaching Christ is very insightful. One sermon without the gospel is too many. May our gracious Lord always impress upon us each time we preach eternity is in the balance.

  2. Greg Robinson
    April 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I agree with you totally. I would like to append to what you wonderfully have said in that if pastors would preach in such a way that ministers to the heart and mind at the same time then real ministry would take place. Some pastors are very good at delivering the facts but fail to minister to the heart while others preach to the heart but fail to provide content. Still others use someone elses materials in the place of authority to give themself validation.

    I believe this is where prayer, fasting and understanding are skillfully needed. I myself have seen glimpse of the spirit flow with understanding and revelation. It was refreshing to experience perfection in spirit and in truth. It can be done. I am terrible at speaking compared to a lot of people and stutter and twist words. But when the spirit of God is upon me the words come out just fine and the flow of content is always at hand. You are very right in saying that life of the scriptures needs to be used in its full context. Unfortunately, I have not mastered time management and so I suck at keeping things to the point and brief. I find myself using a little bit here and there to make a bog point. Anyway, God is working on me but wow! Well put on everything you write. Blessings.

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