POINTS TO PONDER

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One of the most powerful tools of persuasion is when the speaker convinces the audience that they know what they are talking about. That’s because any sincere listener can tell rather quickly if the speaker has really done their homework and captured the genuine essence of their subject.  This is especially true of preachers who are assigned by the Spirit to expound on the Word of God.  We learn that when the chief of philosophers, Aristotle, was about to research some profound subject to establish his theory by proof, he always began his treatise with an acknowledgment of his resources, and requested the reader not to attribute the author’s conclusions based on presumption, vanity, pride, or arrogance. He did not want them to think that he was looking into things of which he had no prior knowledge, but rather, based on his zeal and his desire to discover and establish true doctrine as far as human intellect would permit.

That’s why the great Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, recommended that Rabbis the same position as Aristotle, that they first begin with research in order to thoroughly refine their commitment to honesty and put aside their sense of superiority which is the offspring of their imagination. This should lead them to increase their knowledge of the true fundamentals of their message and adhere to the factors of interpretation and proof, and the ability to guard against misconceptions. They must, however, not decide any question with the first idea that comes to their mind, or be pressured into saying something they are not sure about. Real understanding comes when they wait with modesty and patience to take things one step at a time.

Now, if these principles were accepted back in 300 BC, and in 1200 AD, they certainly can be applied to us today, especially for those who attempt expository preaching of the Bible. That was what the Apostle Paul advised to his young protégé Timothy when he told him to remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.[1]

Likewise, the Apostle Peter instructed his disciples that there may be some who to harm them if they are eager to do good? But even if they suffer for doing what is right, God will reward them for it. So, don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, they must worship Christ as Lord of their life. And if someone asks about their hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way, keeping their conscience clear.[2] Now, all this may take six hours of reading, study, research, and writing to produce a 40-minute sermon, but it will be like refined gold, and worth every second of time spent mining it from God’s Word.

[1] 2 Timothy 3:14-17

[2] 1 Peter3:13-15

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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