Preaching, Exegetical

SHOULD WE CURSE IN CHURCH? APPROACHES FOR, BENEFITS OF, AND CAUTIONS AGAINST PREACHING IMPRECATORY PSALMS IN CHRISTIAN WORSHIP

Author
Scott Kenworthy D.Min.
Abstract
Scripture teaches that the whole Bible is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Yet one genre of biblical literature remains largely unpreached in the local church—the imprecatory psalms. Some notable church leaders have discouraged Christians from praying these psalms in private let alone utilizing them in corporate worship. But if all Scripture is the inspired Word of God, then the imprecatory psalms hold value for both the Christian life and the ministry of local congregations despite the difficulties they present. This project seeks to supplement the available theological literature by preaching the curse psalms in a local church and discerning their homiletical impact. The effect of the Word preached was measured quantitatively through a pair of congregational surveys as well as qualitatively through both weekly focus groups and self-reflection essays. The gathered data indicates a positive correlation between hearing sermons from the imprecatory psalms and 1) a Christian’s intimacy with God in prayer, 2) their appreciation for the power and effect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and 3) the local church’s commitment to confronting injustice. The data also raises concerns about potential negative outcomes when preaching the imprecatory psalms. Drawing upon both positive and negative feedback, the researcher offers guidance concerning homiletical approaches, spiritual benefits, and pastoral cautions when delivering sermons from these oft-ignored texts. The paper ends by applying the project’s findings to Miroslav Volf’s memoir Exclusion and Embrace, a theological reflection on having enemies, in hopes of tracing the initial contours of a pastoral theology of imprecation for the church.

An Evaluation of a Hermeneutics Course to Help Asian Seminarians Identify the Theological Thrust of a Biblical Narrative Passage for Expository Preaching

Author
Patrick Chi Leung Wong D.Min.
Abstract
Hermeneutics of biblical narratives for preaching has its unique challenge for preachers and seminary students. Biblical narratives are stories often without explicit statements of teaching. A review of literature shows that there are deficiencies in various traditional approaches in identifying the author-intended thrust of a biblical narrative such as looking for good or bad models, arbitrarily creating principles for applications, and presuming linkage to redemptive-history. On the other hand, a literary approach and the notion of authorial doing with saying in linguistics are promising to help the interpreters identify the author-intended pericopal theology for preaching.

It was hypothesized that by incorporating elements from the literary approach and notion of authorial doing in a hermeneutics course, the Asian seminary students might better identify the pericopal theology of a biblical narrative for preaching. The effectiveness of this approach was assessed in this research which was about program development and evaluation. Specifically, major changes were made to an existing basic hermeneutics course so that the students were introduced to key concepts and elements in the literary approach and notion of authorial doing with saying.

An instrument was developed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to assess the effectiveness of the final modified course. The instrument includes a pre-test and a post-test to generate quantitative data, and an open-ended question to gather qualitative data. The instrument was administered to a group of participating Asian seminarians. The data collected was analyzed to validate the hypotheses of the research project. The data verified all three hypotheses and affirmed that attending this course is associated with higher ability and confidence of the students in identifying the theological thrust of a biblical narrative for preaching. The dissertation suggests that such training approach may prove beneficial to seminary students in preaching in other contexts.

The Development and Evaluation of a Theological Commentary and Expository Sermon Series on Jonah Implementing Pericopal Theology and a Christiconic Hermeneutic

Author
Josiah D. Boyd D.Min.
Abstract
For the edification of God’s people, biblical preaching is essential (Eph 4:11–16), a divinely-mandated activity which assumes not only Scripture’s explanation but also its application. While much scholarly attention has been paid to the former facet (i.e., the move from text-to-theology), much less has been given to the latter (i.e., the move from theology-to-application). One homiletician, Abraham Kuruvilla, has recently attempted to fill this void by articulating and demonstrating a methodology through which a preacher can, with confidence and clarity, lead the people of God from the Bible to its intended, and thus binding, application. The aim of this research was to explore the effectiveness of his proposed theology and hermeneutic for the identification, development, communication, and reception of biblically-founded, theologically-valid, and hearer-relevant application.

Following the example of Kuruvilla, a theological commentary for preachers was developed for the book of Jonah and a subsequent four-week expository sermon series was preached. In order to assess the effectiveness of the proposed methodology for the developing, communicating, understanding, and applying of a biblical text, a selfadministered pretest and posttest survey was developed and distributed to volunteer participants which focused on both the content and applicational weight of the book. It was hypothesized that by the utilization of pericopal theology, a christiconic hermeneutic, and the subsequent preaching of an expository sermon series, there would be measurable growth in (1) knowledge of the biblical text, (2) understanding of the theology of the biblical text, and (3) discernment of the divine demand placed upon God’s people through the biblical text. The instrument provided quantitative data that was analyzed and evaluated and which, ultimately, verified all three hypotheses affirming that the utilization of pericopal theology and a christiconic hermeneutic demonstrates an associated and significant increase in biblical knowledge, theological understanding, and applicational discernment among the participants.

Enhancing Exegetical Preaching Skills of Old Testament Narratives that Increase Congregational Awareness of Spiritual Empowerment at Central Baptist Church, White Hall Arkansas

Author
Jordan Stephen Ferris
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to enhance exegetical preaching skills of Old Testament narratives that increase congregational awareness of spiritual empowerment at Central Baptist Church, White Hall, Arkansas. The congregation will start to develop a deeper sense of biblical theology and spiritual empowerment by understanding the context and application of Old Testament narrative, and thus helping the congregation potentially see spiritual empowerment from other biblical narrative texts within the canon of Scripture.

The project director will be using the Preaching Skills Enhancement model with three phases to accomplish this mode. Phase one will consist of researching expository preaching and proper exegesis of Old Testament narratives. Phase two will be the formulation, writing, and preaching of a sermon series from Old Testament narrative. Phase three will be the assessment of data and impact on the congregation as well as the project director.

Peace Upon Our Troubled World: A Reflection on Jesus' Post Resurrection Visits in John 20:19-31

Author
CANICE CHUKWUEMEKA NJOKU FR M.A.
Abstract
In a world where both the interior and exterior peace of its inhabitants is under constant threat by one form of chaos or the other, is there any hope for lasting peace? This reflection explores the impact of Jesus' gift of peace to his disciples during his post-resurrection visits in John 20:19-31. Importantly, it carefully evaluates the relevance of this visit to all living in today's challenging and chaotic world.

This work reveals that peace is a gift from God and that Jesus' salutation ("Peace be with you"), which communicates much peace and liberates every troubled soul, is still very much re-echoed to all today. Hence, it is still relevant for the continued restoration and sustenance of peace in both the individual and our entire world.

Faith and humility are prerequisites for receiving the peace that Christ offers. Also, the Holy Spirit is a principal-agent in humankind's search for lasting peace, and peace is not primarily a characteristic of happenings in the world but also a human attitude and a characteristic of all who have received it.

The title of this little book speaks for itself. The peace that Christ offers is still very much needed in every soul and in our world at large. It is what our world lacks and needs most today, and this is what I present to you in this little book.

Preaching About Biblical Marriage: An Evaluation of Functional Elements in Martyn Lloyd-Jones's Sermons on Ephesians 5:22-33 as Contained in the Book Christian Marriage and Its Implications for Modern Preachers

Author
Keith Wayne Hamilton D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this historical and biographical analysis was to understand the life and ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones and to draw implications from this understanding for contemporary pastors more faithfully to preach biblically concerning marriage. The overall ministry philosophy and methodology of Lloyd-Jones have been considered along with his value for biblical authority, expository preaching, and biblical marriage. This purpose was accomplished through qualitative research using content analysis on primary and secondary sources by and about Martyn Lloyd-Jones to understand what he believed about Christian preaching and ministry and to know how he applied that understanding personally and in the pulpit.

The research design for this study followed a qualitative approach to studying data. The study also implemented content analysis when examining individual sermons Lloyd-Jones preached from Ephesians 5:22-33 contained in Christian Marriage: From Basic Principles to Transformed Relationships. These sermons were evaluated according to the functional elements of explanation, illustration, and application to derive implications for pastors today.

The research is developed into three parts. First, in chapters 1-2, the thesis and life of Lloyd-Jones is described. Second, in chapters 3-4, his value for biblical expository preaching is established. Third, chapters 5-6 set forth the evaluating methodology for the eleven sermons. Fourth, chapter 7 validated the thesis by offering the analysis of data and research conclusions, along with further suggestions.

Preaching Beyond the Hedges: A Psycho-Social and Spiritual Exegesis of University Students as a Resource for the Campus Preacher

Author
RAYMOND C COOK D.Min.
Abstract
Community exegesis is gaining interest among preachers as a means to communicate the Word of God to a particular group, time, and location. The work of Lenora Tubbs Tisdale and her study of communal exegesis marks a significant influence on this interest. The Second Vatican Council also calls upon the preacher to utilize language to tailor the Word of God for the listener. Relying on the study of social location and combining that effort with psychological, social, and spiritual disciplines, preachers engage concepts that aid in the exegesis of today’s university students. This study demonstrates that exegeting the Scriptures and the community is beneficial to the psycho-spiritual cognitive development of students.
This thesis examines disciplines that equip preachers to exegete the university student community, thereby contributing to a better preaching event. To that end, the first chapter describes the importance of studying the historical and observable social location in which the students are living. The second chapter treats psychological stage development and current struggles that today’s undergraduates are experiencing. The third chapter considers two specific research methods and ways that preachers might implement them. These research methods uncover the language of university students, as reflected in conversations with focus groups. The fourth chapter examines the fruits of Emmaus Walks that lead towards Paschal Preaching, and the witness that university students give when preaching moves into action. The preacher also calls to mind the role of the Holy Spirit in creating a preaching event. The conclusion highlights the benefits of this thesis as an exegetical resource, suggesting that preachers can preach more effectively to students on their campuses by gaining knowledge of the social location, updating their understanding of proposed theories of psychological stage development, using a variety of research methods, and intentionally journeying with the students.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

Proclaiming the gospel from Old Testament war narratives

Author
Eli H. Dowell
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine how preachers proclaim the Gospel from Old Testament war narratives. The study utilized a basic qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six Gospel-centered preachers. Four research questions guided the data analysis, addressing challenges presented by culture and theology and what methods preachers use to overcome these challenges. The findings of the study show that Old Testament war narratives are essential components of the meta-narrative of Scripture, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The study concluded with several examples of Gospel-centered interpretations of select passages from the book of Joshua.

A STUDY OF SERMON APPLICATION ACROSS BIBLICAL GENRES AT FAITH BIBLE CHURCH

Author
Trevor Nunn D.Min.
Abstract
This project developed strategies to sermon application across the biblical genres of poetry, narrative, parables and epistles. The strategies had two goals: (1) enhance the congregants’ biblical understanding of the text while growing them in Christ; (2) improve the quality of sermon applications in the project writer’s preaching. To achieve these goals, this project reviewed hermeneutical topics to create a definition of expository preaching. Based on the definition, a questionnaire evaluated the success of the strategies through a pre/post format of the project writer’s sermons. Conclusions to their success were based upon positive or negative changes within the data.


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