Preachers & Teachers: Do Not Master the Text

Hopefully that title gets some attention! What I mean by it is that we preachers and Bible teachers should never have the idea or give the impression that we’ve mastered the text we are studying/preaching. We should never act as if we’ve completely exhausted the meaning out of the text, as if it is an orange for juice.

Barth can say it better: “We should not try to master the text. The Bible will become more and more mysterious to real exegetes. They will see all the depths and distances. They will constantly run up against the mystery before which theology is like trying to drain the ocean with a spoon. The true exegete will face the text like an astonished child in a wonderful garden, not like an advocate of God who has seen all his files” (Homiletics, p.128).

Luther says it better still: “We should allow Scripture to rule and master us, and we ourselves should not be the masters, according to our mad heads, setting ourselves above Scripture.”

This “astonished child mastered by Scripture” should be a homiletic attitude and shape our pulpit/lectern presence! The preacher/teacher is standing under Scripture, even in the pulpit.

shane lems

sunnyside, wa

1 thought on “Preachers & Teachers: Do Not Master the Text”

  1. Amen. The magazine from Mathias Media just had an article on this very thing. An infinite God has revealed himself to his finite people. We therefore never reach the end of what God has said. Isa 66:2

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