Our Scripture verse on preaching is Mark 1:14-15 which reads: “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Our quote on preaching today is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He said, “So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus.”
Our first topic is titled “The Call to the Ministry, Part 10” from “Lectures to My Students” by Charles H. Spurgeon.
Thus much may suffice, but the same subject will be before you if I detail a little of my experience in dealing with aspirants for the ministry. I have constantly to fulfill the duty which fell to the lot of Cromwell’s Triers. I have to form an opinion as to the advisability of aiding certain men in their attempts to become pastors. This is a most responsible duty, and one which requires no ordinary care. Of course, I do not set myself up to judge whether a man shall enter the ministry or not, but my examination merely aims at answering the question whether this institution shall help him, or leave him to his own resources. Certain of our charitable neighbors accuse us of having “a parson manufactory” here, but the charge is not true at all.
Our second topic is titled “The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 23” from “The Preacher and his Preaching” by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 8)
Each Christian should therefore take care as to what he puts into his body in the way of food. He should avoid what he knows, by experience, to be detrimental to his physical health, or what he realizes unfits him for his most efficient service for the Lord. He should abstain from either overeating or under-eating, and only take the kind and quantity of food necessary to keep him physically at his best for God. Any habit that is harmful to clear thinking or pure living should be shunned. Such habits as the drinking of alcoholic liquors, or smoking, should be avoided like a plague, lest they hinder the effectiveness of the preaching of the Word of God. While it is true that temperance, and not total abstinence, is the teaching of Scripture, yet, for the sake of example, it is far better to leave all questionable things strictly alone.
Our third topic is titled “Tools of the Trade, Part 7” from “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
Having selected the passage, we must first examine it in its context. The passage does not exist in isolation. As individual verses rest within a paragraph, the paragraphs are part of a chapter, and the chapters are part of the book. If you were reading any other book, you would not open it to page 50, read a paragraph, and from that, assume that you could speak with some authority about the author’s meaning. The author may be giving you the argument of an opponent, not his own. At the very least you would want to read the whole chapter to discover how this one paragraph fits within the larger section. If you really want to understand your paragraph, you would also ask questions about how the chapter that contains your paragraph fits within the entire book. The old saw still has a sharp edge: “The text without the context is a pretext.”