I’m grateful that preachers are more and more conscious of the Bible’s massive image and are preaching accordingly. I’m grateful to see preachers targeted on understanding and explaining how the Bible is a cohesive, coherent e book, and doing this by exploring the various connections inside it. This compares favorably with utilizing the Bible as little greater than a group of remoted proverbs to be hauled out to show no matter level a preacher needs to make. Nevertheless it has been my commentary that this deal with unity can inadvertently trigger confusion. It seems, as with a lot of life and ministry, that there’s peril on each side of the equation.
It’s a mistake to deal with a passage as if it stands alone, remoted from the remainder of Scripture. Slightly, each passage matches someplace inside a terrific narrative that takes us from creation to consummation, from the previous and too-short glories of Eden to the long run and everlasting glories of paradise. We haven’t understood it correctly till we’ve understood it inside this drama.
On this manner, each passage pertains to each different, and each passage pertains to the entire. Thus, there will probably be some connection between any two passages inside any given e book. If the preacher is tackling some verses in chapter 4, he must make some examine of chapters 1 to three. Additional, he wants to take care of some consideration of how this passage matches inside the higher narrative of the entire Bible. Typically he’ll discover that his verses have a considerable relation to some others. When Paul calls upon youngsters to obey their dad and mom within the Lord, the preacher should be pondering of Jesus honoring his dad and mom whereas rising in knowledge, stature, and favor, and, past that, all the best way again to the fifth commandment.
We solely interpret the Bible correctly and really after we interpret it as a part of this entire. Thus preachers ought to search for hyperlinks, discover them, and draw our consideration to them. They shouldn’t stretch or discover them the place they don’t exist, however additionally they shouldn’t neglect to exhibit the unity of Scripture. Preaching a textual content requires contemplating the cross-references.
But when it’s a mistake to deal with a passage as if it stands alone, additionally it is a mistake to deal with a passage as if it has completely no that means aside from the remainder of Scripture. Slightly, each e book, each passage, and each verse does have a degree and goal all its personal. Each was written for a particular goal and makes a specific contribution. Every may be preached as a coherent unit.
The preacher who tackles Paul’s directions to youngsters shouldn’t spend an excessive amount of time in Luke or Exodus. Slightly, he ought to remain targeted on Ephesians. He should make the main thrust of his textual content what Paul says to his younger Ephesian protégé, not what the entire Bible says about dad and mom and their youngsters. He wants to evangelise the textual content, not the cross-references.
It’s a tough steadiness, this. It’s a tough steadiness to account for the unity of scripture however with out following limitless trails that, although attention-grabbing, may very well detract from adequately preaching the textual content. The best way I determine it, it’s smart to sometimes encourage the congregation to “turn with me to…” a passage immediately or not directly associated. Nevertheless it’s additionally smart to largely hold the congregation targeted on the one textual content. It’s smart to level out what all of Scripture says a few theme, nevertheless it’s additionally smart to largely present what this piece of Scripture says concerning the theme. It’s good to make these references, however higher to make them fast and supplemental.
Like a lot else in preaching, cross-referencing is most frequently a very good alternative for the preacher to do his work within the examine however to not present his work within the pulpit. It’s unhelpful to by no means present how books, passages, and verses relate to 1 one other, and unhelpful to by no means exhibit how the Bible is one e book that tells one story. However it’s equally unhelpful to all the time present the hyperlinks and, in that manner, to fail to evangelise the singular thrust of a passage. Account for the cross-references, however don’t main on them. Stick with your textual content, preacher!