NOTE: This article is an excerpt from an excellent little book on preaching, The Expositor in the Pulpit, by the Greek scholar Marvin R. Vincent. The book is the content of his lectures given to students at Union Theological Seminary in 1884. The book is a must read for expository preachers and teachers.
After you have grasped the general meaning of a portion of Scripture, and have discerned its relation to the whole book, or to the whole Bible, the separate words invite you to a new and most fruitful study — to a work of scholarship, not to a diversion of fancy.
It throws a precious truth into the form of a vivid yet restful picture, when you read—“The peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7), and detect in the word phrousēsei, the image of a sentinel mounting guard before a tent.
When you read of the “sword of the Spirit,” the dissector of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and, immediately after, that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12-13), it heightens your sense of the complete exposureof the heart to the omniscient eye, as you see in the word tetrachēlismena the picture of the victim’s neck drawn back by the priest, and thus laid bare and open to the keen sacrificial knife.
How exquisite is the suggestion in the thirteenth verse of the eleventh of Hebrews, where the Old testament worthies are represented, not as embracing the promises (as in the Authorized Version [KJV]), but as greeting or saluting them from afar, as sailors salute the distant promontories of a beloved shore.
This is a tempting field of illustration. “The gold of that land is good: there is also bdellium and the onyx stone;” and, in the preacher’s delight at unearthing these treasures, his natural impulse will be to tell his people about every plant and stone of the goodly land: but the spies could not bring back all the fruits of Canaan; and the preacher must content himself with judicious selections from the clusters.
Your object is to bring the Word to your people, but also to bring your people to the Word: to incite them to go up and possess the land for themselves. (pages 12-13).
This article originally appeared on http://drdavidlallen.com