Tips for Reading and Preaching the Bible in a Christ-Centered Way

Monday, July 16th 2007
Jul/Aug 1999

1 In the reading of Scripture, whether privately or in public worship, consider including both an Old Testament and a New Testament reading, the former selection related to the latter as promise to its fulfillment. We begin to think in terms of this pattern by hearing the connections.

2 Ask yourself: What's the stage of redemptive history at which we find ourselves in this passage? If this question were asked each time, it could clear up the tendency to convert a significant event in redemptive history into an unhistorical pattern for us today (viz., the theocracy in Israel, temple worship, tongues in Acts, etc.).

3 How do I find myself in Christ (and therefore with his church) in this story? Make your life conform to this story, not vice versa. And be willing to allow it to critique its rivals, such as the narrative of self-fulfillment, consumerism, etc.

4 Read with the Church. Creeds, confessions, a good systematic theology, can all help you to see the limitations of your own narrow range of ideas, presuppositions, experiences, and longings. Instead of trying to start from scratch, join the conversation that has been in progress since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

5 Read/hear prayerfully. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures, illumines believers so that they may understand their significance. Interpretation is never simply an intellectual exercise, but involves the imagination, the heart, and the will. In every act of interpretation, we are entirely dependent on the Spirit who reveals Christ to us, as our Savior said: "…he will testify concerning me" (John 15:26).

Monday, July 16th 2007

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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