How Not to Preach: The Springboard

Preaching a sermon consist of two parts: Hermeneutics and Homiletics. Hermeneutics is the process of how to study the Bible, and Homiletics is the study of the best way to give the sermon. Between the two parts we come to understand how to preach and teach the bible in a way that is understandable and memorable. I want to write a couple of posts about mistakes that some preachers make when preaching that very well end with a sure twisting of scripture. A deficiency in either the hermeneutical process of a bad theory of homiletic can bring about bad twisting of scripture. Today’s error is a hermeneutical error called “The Springboard.”

The Springboard works like this. The preacher comes up to the stage and reads out a text, as he does this he may emphasize a word that is in the text to indicate what he wants to talk about. While the word study is being set up the preacher may make some comments about the word that he wants to speak on and then, leaving the text, he lays out his idea of what we ought to be thinking about rather than what the text says regarding the word in context. An example would be like taking the section on the passion of Christ where he yells out, “I thirst!” and making the sermon about how we need to be thirsty for the word. As much as that may be a true statement, that is not why the author of that gospel put that detail in the recounting of Christ’s Passion.

Why is this a bad thing? As I said in my example, this does not always turn into straight up heresy. This is a bad thing because that is not how we are to teach and study the Bible. The springboard method causes the teacher to put into the text something that isn’t there, and then hijack the flow and meaning of the passage. To put meaning into the text is called eisegesis.  The kind of preaching that is dangerous and the cause of most false teaching that we see. It does not matter what you put in, if it was not there before you came to the text, it does not belong there. Even if what you put in is good doctrine, it is always better to teach what is there.

The form of preaching that is most effective and best to bring understanding to the people that we are teaching is called exegesis. Exegesis is the when you get the meaning out of the text and let it speak for itself. Think the difference of the two by remembering the “I” sound like the first letter of “in” and the “ex” sound like the word “exit.” This type of preaching is best because it allows the Bible to guide the flow of thought and give the context and meaning to whatever passage you have before you. A word study is not a bad thing if you allow the Bible to guide and define what is being said, and not making up or putting in our two cents that does not belong there.

I hope you keep this in mind as you go and study your bibles, and may the Lord bless your study of His Word.

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