A PITCH FOR USING TECHNICAL BOOKS IN PREPARING FOR A SERMON
"ALMOST ALL OUR WISDOM, JOHN CALVIN OBSERVED, CONSISTS OF TWO PARTS:"
Footnote: I have had a copy of the Calvin’s Institutes since I was the pastor of Madison Baptist Church in 1972 (860 pages in small small print).
What I have discovered since 2004 is the wide systematizing of Biblical Thinking among preachers, theologians, scholars, and professors. Fundamentalists were separatists. I think that meant not only were you to separate yourself from the world but also from anyone who had a different point of view. Thus you stayed in your own camp of Biblical thinkers. (A treatment of that subject would be good).
From 1962-1982 I was in this camp of fundamentalist thinkers. From 1983-2003 I was in two camps of biblical thinkers. Fundamentalist and the John MacArthur’s Camp. (I said yes, both camps.)
Since December of 1962 I have joined in the collective enterprise of digging up and building. I Corinthians 3:10 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundations and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." (this point is for another blog.} But here only to say, there have been so far three phases of the building up. 1962-1982, 1983-2003, and 2003-presently. Is there a third camp? There is, but I am just reading in their camp.
But since 1962 I have buried myself in the process of digging up the collective knowledge of a number of men. I have always believed that I personally must glean from a collective number of materials and books in the work of the ministry.
"BURY YOURSELF IN A DICTIONARY AND COME UP IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD. "
This improbable-sounding piece of advice of the late Sir Edwyn Hoskyns contains a wisdom born of experience.
I think too often as preachers, when preparing a message, we ask the wrong person. It’s not the preacher we should ask what to preach and say. Rather it’s: "What is the writer getting at?" "Why did he say this?" "Why did he put it like that?" "What lies behind that remark that Paul has just made?" So when we move away from our thinking and ask what was Paul’s thinking, we begin to see things in a new light. Believe me you do. I was ever in astonishment when I discovered the world of these books I have listed below.
There is no substitute for individual initiative. One has to study the Bible for oneself. But on the other hand, it is a co-operative endeavor. One cannot, I personally believe, do without the work of others in unearthing facts and bringing to light insights which would otherwise be lost. But paradoxically enough, it is only when others have done this kind of work that one can see the truth in it for oneself.
Personally I owe a special debt of gratitude to a whole lot of folks who have done what I could have never accomplished I appreciate those who researched the Word of God and put the results in volumes of books. My prayer has always been for the Lord to guide my weak mind to the right work, that I might build a biblical foundation of preaching and ministry.
The books listed here were used in the technique, and method, or procedure if you will, how I began to learn how to study and compose an expositional message.
THE BOOKS LISTED BELOW ARE FROM BY PERSONAL PASTORAL TEACHING LIBRARY. FROM 1980-1996.
LINGUISTIC AND GRAMMATICAL ANALYSIS HELPS
Aids to help examine the details of the passage:
My favorite: :Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament: Fritz Rienecker/Cleon Rogers
The Interlinear Greek-English N.T. Nestle-Marshall
LEXICONS: to help find definitions of a word., root meanings, identification of some grammatical forms, a list of passages where the word occurs, classification of its use in its various contexts and some illustrations that help give color to the word.
I used: Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.
A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek N.T. Bullinger
The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon
CONCORDANCES Sometimes it is essential actually to study a word in the passage where it was spoken or written. To determine the meaning of words through usage, a concordance is essential
If you do not know Hebrew or Greek: you can still learn:
My favorite: Wigram - The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the OT.
Wigram - Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament, with Strong’s
To study the theological significance of OT words used in the NT
GRAMMARS Meaning does not come from words alone. Words must be understood as they are used in phrases, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs.
A study of syntax examines how words combine to render meaning, and grammars assist us in that study of how words are formed and put together in sentences.
Example A.T. Robertson’s Grammar of the Greek NT in Light of Historical Research.
WORD-STUDY BOOKS These books provide the exegete with insights into words and grammar. A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT
The Complete Word Study N.T. KJV Compiled by Spiros Zodhiates
From Matthew thru Revelation in the KJV....
Words in the text numerically coded to Strong’s Greek dictionary, Introduction to each book. Exegetical Notes. Grammatical Codes on the text. Lexical Adis. Geek Concordance. Translations Reference Index. And Strong’s Greek Dictionary.
One Volumn 1300+ pages. Outstanding
BIBLE DICTIONARIES Background and biography
COMMENTARIES A teacher of the Scriptures need teachers. When I taught Romans, I purchased commentaries on Romans, while in Ephesians, I stayed in Ephesians. Read as an Ephesian. They tell me that not every author knows all the truth. Well maybe there are a few who may. What is funny in 2006, when I taught Revelation, I had over 60 books on Revelation, and they all were authors who believed that Revelation was yet future. It was not until 1996 in general and 2005 in specific that I knew and read those authors who believe otherwise.
There are several good N.T. commentaries that I used on a regular basis:
The New Testament Study Bible The Complete Biblical Library Editor Ralph Harris
This Library has sixteen volumes. 1986-1996
1 The Textus Receptus as the basis text of the Interlinear
2 Greek Text in Greek, Grammatical Forms, Transliteration, Translation , an assigned number (5,000) Greek-English Dictionary
3 Verse by Verse Commentary
4 The KJV is shown in boldface type and then more than 60 other versions show various ways the Greek of that phrase may be translated.
The John MacArthur’s Commentaries which came about as a result of his preaching. And in 1980 he had not even started this series
An American Commentary of the New. Testament Edited by Alvan Hovey
1881 , my dad and mom used this set, and I used it first in 1962
What I have recognized and discovered from 2004, you acquire books that reflect your theological point of view. 99% of all the books that I have purchased and have had influence over my thinking have been books that I have agreed in theological view points.
BASIC EXEGESIS AND HOMILETICS
TRANSLATIONS You need help with the KVJ 1611
26 Translations of the Bible Curtis Vaughan General Editor