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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Standing On" or "Skipping Over" Biblical Texts?

If you have not picked up and read A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by J.I. Packer, you do not know what you are missing! This book describes the life, ministry, family, and culture of the Puritans in the 17th century. One of the things I love is how the Puritan's "land" and "sit on" biblical texts. Let Packer explain this awesome phenomena:

"Puritan preachers might 'stand' on the same text for many sermons together, and stay with a single passage for months and years at a time. . . . One reason why these expositors floor us at first is they are controlled by a much stronger interest in the Bible as a whole than we are used to. Where we concentrate on focusing the flow of each passage with minimum reference to other Scriptures, Puritan expositors labour throughout to show how each passage reflects and links up with the teachings of the rest of the word of God. . . . Puritan analytical methods account for the length of Puritan expositions - Joseph Caryl's 6,000 quarto pages on Job; 2,000 plus in folio on Hebrews from John Owen; Hildersam's 152 sermons on Psalm 51:1-7; over 800 pages of small print in all modern editions of William Gurnall's treatment of Ephesians 6:10-20, The Christian in Complete Armour; et cetera! What led the Puritans into such long-windedness was their passion for thoroughness in extracting all doctrines and developing all applications." (emphasis mine, 72-73).
Simply amazing! I recently purchased the Works of John Flavel (6 vol.) in which he spends nearly 300 pages expounding Proverbs 4:23. These men, as described of Bunyan, were such that if pricked would bleed Bible. If we were to prick out preachers today, what would they bleed I wonder? With spiritual anemia abounding and the chaff of topical sermons replacing the wheat of Scripture, one must wonder the answer to that question. At best many preachers who are "Scripture skippers" would do well to heed the example of our elder brothers. May it be that we are known for having as much an interest in the Word of God and once again place the primacy of the Scripture in our pulpits! Indeed, God has prepared a banqueting table. Let us not serve them leftover crumbs.


Blogger The Traveler said...

Dr. Vogel would burn you as a topical sermon preaching heretic.

I completely agree with ya. We need to see the interconnectedness of all of Scripture. Really it always comes down to an integrity issue. You can preach through the Bible book by book and still completely miss the theme of Scripture. It is amazing how easy it is for us to abuse texts.

We need scholars who have a fire in their busom because they are thrilled and awed by the Majesty of God. A God Driven Church is a good goal, consumed in worship of the mighty King.

3/14/2006 02:22:00 PM


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