On Resolving Every Issue in the Text

Here’s some good advice from James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Fellowship at Straight Up, a new blog by pastors for pastors. Question: Should a sermon resolve every issue in the text? (Visit the link for the video clip.)

I don’t think that the sermon needs to resolve every single tension and answer every question that the text raises. I think that I will say that my intellectual curiosity greatly exceeds my people’s capacity to listen, and it grieves me when I hear preaching and teaching that tries to nail down every single corner, answer every issue.

I love commentaries like that, and I love to study and answer all the questions that are in mind so that I can preach with confidence. But I think a lot of times I refer to this as not preaching your homework. And you need to know what it says, and you need to have it all nailed down according to the dictates of your own conscience, but then you need to carve out of that the fillet part which is what the people need for their own souls.

I do actually struggle with preaching that overly intellectualizes the text rather than forming it into a meal that actually will feed the souls of the people.

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