Preaching With Power The Word “Correctly Handled” To Transform Man And His World -- By: Louis Goldberg

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:1 (Mar 1984)
Article: Preaching With Power The Word “Correctly Handled” To Transform Man And His World
Author: Louis Goldberg


Preaching With Power The Word “Correctly Handled”
To Transform Man And His World

Louis Goldberg*

I can well remember when Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago first came to the city and gave his inaugural address. He began by discussing the kinds of impressions that E.T., the little visitor from outer space, would have of Chicago and Roman Catholics if he were sitting on the back row of Holy Name Cathedral while the address was given. I am wondering out loud—in a more Biblical context but with no less registered amazement—about the impressions some of the great cloud of witnesses would have if they should sit somewhere in the back row, listening to our papers and conversations.

I would hope, after almost two days of listening to papers and now with our stomachs full of succulent food, that it will not be too great a chore for you to listen to me share the burden of my heart. The theme of “Preaching and Biblical Exegesis” is important. It is a subject that has challenged me and, I would presume, some of you as well. But I realize that among the group of scholars represented here we also each have varied interests at this annual meeting. I have always felt, however, that after we have carefully examined the texts of our Bibles, checked the original languages, applied the rules of hermeneutics and carefully noted the principles of Biblical theology, then we should be able to guide the young men and women who sit in front of us in our classes to preach the texts.

When I entered seminary, coming straight out of a secular university, I hoped I would emerge as a knight in shining armor ready to do battle in the pulpit. As I was going through seminary I was exposed to many disciplines: surveys of OT and NT, Church history, exegesis of a number of the Biblical books, the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages, hermeneutics—even one whole year of systematic theology! Still the nagging question of whether or not I would finally reach my goal after all of this massive training (so I thought at the time) persisted.

Fortunately I had to take at least twelve hours of homiletics and preaching. The objective of this specialized work was to prepare us to preach, using all of the disciplines to which we had been exposed. Even then, in my first year in the pastorate, I ended up flogging the pews, and it was not until my second year that I finally realized that God had sent me to minister to the flock, preach the Word to them in power, and with it meet their needs.

I want to consider some of the ideas suggested in my title: first, the preacher as the messenger; second, what the preacher is supposed to be preaching—that is, the Word; third, the preacher who “correctly handles” this Word (2 ...

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