The Heart of Great Preaching: 3 Observations

I was recently at a conference, enjoying it both as a participant and as a presenter. I was particularly struck by the main Bible teaching. I have been pondering what made it so effective and will offer my reflections in three posts. I was challenged by the obvious passion for the Word that showed in this series of talks. I know the speaker is not a limelight seeker, so I won’t name him, but I trust these three reflections will be provocative for us.

Observation 1 – Masterful Handling of the Text

In four messages we were taken through the entire book of Daniel. Not the easiest book to preach, nor the least controversial. How was the text handled so effectively in the course of four one-hour presentations?

A. The speaker was sensitive to both the literary and historical context of the book.

He knew his Babylonian and subsequent world empire history and demonstrated a keen awareness of the various disciplines needed for pulling together the complexity of Daniel.

B. He was deeply aware of the literary structure of the book.

Layer upon layer of structure was masterfully woven together as the book was presented, leaving the listeners struck by the artistry of the writer.

C. He showed a remarkable ability to summarise

the content of multiple chapters without losing the essence or the core intent of the passages. The teaching had integrity, even when a chapter was surveyed only briefly.

D. The speaker was as bold as a lion, yet as winsome as a lamb.

In a mixed crowd of people from multiple denominations and disciplines, it would be tempting to try to please everyone with a sort of neutered presentation. Not here. There was a stunning level of courage in this presentation. He knew that many would disagree on various levels, yet he was unashamed in his presentation of the book. I think this kind of courage required both a genuine winsomeness and an authoritative mastery of the book’s contents.

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Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014).