- Bible teaching and preaching should be more persuasion and proclamation than just academic. Having the single idea focus adds momentum and purpose which is helpful to these ends.
- Unless I have randomly selected the verses I will expound, presumably there is something which makes those verses a unit, something (one thing) which unifies them (UNI=one). It seems consistent then that this reason I picked that textual unit (or even collection of texts) will also be at the heart of the message I preach. So I think it is treating the bible as well as I am in picking my text :-)
- We commonly understand the Bible to speak with this kind of purpose (with points, sub-points etc), and usually search for this purpose (meta-narrative if you like) in understanding the Scriptures. It again seems consistent that our preaching should follow that same model.
- If I don't know what I want to get across, how will my listeners know either?
While I'm at it, here are a few more of my random thoughts about preaching...
- I think APPLICATION is really important in a sermon. But by 'application' I don't just mean things we tell people to do physically. Application can be something like 'appreciate what it means for Jesus to be the Christ'. Although application can I suppose be just knowledge (eg 'intellectually understand what it means for Jesus to be the Christ'), I think application should be more emotional and/or volitional. I prefer to see intellectual understanding as the means rather than the end. In fact, I would think that some of the best sermon applications are those that inform our heart, our worldview, and as a result powerfully change our lives, rather than those that merely and superficially tell us what to do, or just put some more third-person knowledge into our heads. So I think our 'big idea' of the sermon should answer questions like 'What response to hope to see in my hearers?'
- Having said that, I think most people need lots of nudges to move from abstract to real-life, either by way of concrete explanatory illustrations or by examples as to how non-action applications will translate into day-to-day living. Too often we are not reflective or thoughtful enough to do it ourselves after the sermon has finished.
- I also suspect that the rather formal and polished form and delivery of sermons that is usually expected today, was probably not how they did it in the apostolic church. Maybe it is my problem, but I just can't really imagine them sticking to a tight 25min shedule, making sure everything is word-perfect, writing out everything in full and practicing beforehand, making sure there is a really good introduction and conclusion etc. As for PowerPoint presentations...
- Theory is easier than practice. Do as I say, not as I do ;-)