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Listeners can sense a lack of integrity like dogs can sense when someone isn’t a canine fan. People long for the preacher to have a deep sense of consistency. And it isn’t just the big and obvious issues like consistency in the preacher’s private life or relational issues. Integrity comes into play in smaller things too.

For example:

1. Do you read Hebrew, young man?

That’s what I wrote in my notes after hearing a younger preacher say, “A careful reading would say this ...” It’s interesting how many of the preachers with no training in biblical languages seem so quick to make reference to them. “This is a present continuous tense ... Paul used a genitive so that means ... the original word here is better translated ... “ I could go on.

There is almost no good reason to make references to the original languages. And if you aren’t trained, there are even more reasons not to try. Take onboard what the commentaries say, but don’t imply knowledge you don’t have. (An even bigger concern here is how credulous many listeners are ... many actually don’t spot it.)

2. "If you read this book every week for 25 years, you would begin to see ... "

I still find myself wondering if the preacher who said that had really read John’s gospel over 1,300 times when he made that remark. It certainly undermined his credibility because it didn’t feel real. That’s the issue when integrity comes into question by what we say. Don’t imply that you have a shortcut to special knowledge (the same could be said of claims of direct revelation during preparation).

3. Is that really your angst that is firing now?

Every now and then you will hear a preacher who seems to get worked up about something, but somehow it feels fake. It’s like a smile that doesn’t wrinkle around the eyes. It feels forced. Some preachers seem to convey a conviction about things that perhaps aren’t really convictions yet. That’s OK; just don’t pretend they are. It really undermines perceived integrity when your angst feels hollow and learned.

4. Personalized illustrations

Using someone else’s illustration is common fare in preaching. Pretending that actually happened to you, when it didn’t, is a lie.

5. Lifted sermons

Being influenced by another preacher’s explanation of a text is good. Having your wording marked by theirs is unavoidable at times. But preaching a lifted sermon as if it were your own, well, what do you think that says about integrity?



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). Follow him on Twitter

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Jerry Colter

commented on Jan 10, 2014

These points are good. I try to be real in my relationships. This includes preaching. I don't think it helps your people to try and document every place you got a story, illustration or idea. If the Holy Spirit is not dealing with me about a message, I have difficulty in delivering it effectively. I try to stay with a message until I feel I own it. I think the truth is we are all a combination of what others have put in us. I understand that a preacher can be a liar and deceiver. People generally see through that or are found out eventually. For sure there will not be a true anointing on the message. Thanks for the points. They help me. Jerry Colter

Richard Scotland

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Interesting thoughts there. #1 is a pet hate of mine - when preachers go on about original language I switch off. I would imagine a lot of the congregation do too, unless they are Hebrew scholars. #2 I hope you are joking with that example! #3 #4 I have not really seen, or been aware of. #5 Would not bother me if someone read out an old sermon of mine as if it were theirs. I cannot imagine reading out verbatim someone else's sermon but I am certainly happy to "pinch" good points/illustrations. My biggest eye-opener on integrity came when after your-body-is-a-temple sermon, I saw the preacher outside with a cigarette!

Pastor Jeff Hughes

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Excellent points, with one fcaveat. No offense, but your first comment is a tad condescending. I am not as trained as you are are obviously, but I do follow a consistent hermenutic--Bible--Dictionaries for key words identified--Language Helps (Vincents, Robertsons, etc)--Commentaries. In other words, see what the Holy Spirit leads with first, then work my way out from there. Perhaps this is what you meant, but does come off a little condescending. Otherwise, great article.

Charles Blansit

commented on Jan 10, 2014

"There is almost no good reason to make references to the original languages." Sir, I disagree with this point. In fact I think every preacher should be trained in biblical languages. There are many decievers in the world and Satan is trying to re-write the Bible in order to decieve those who he may. How can a preacher properly exegete a passage unless he knows the original language? If you are merely using an English translation, is it accurate? What transcripts was it translated from? Is it a translation of a translation? Now, there may be times that people misuse some of these tools, however, that is a totally different issue. The trap is the sin of falsly pretending you are something that you are not. Your other points are well taken, but point one appears that you have an issue with the use of biblical languages. If you do not know them, then I agree, do not employ there use, however, if you do not know them, then my question is why aren't you trying to learn them? I challenge every preacher to do one word study on the word "so" in John 3:16 where the Bible says "God so loved the world..." If you look this word up in the original Greek you may find that it does not exactly relay the meaning that you traditionally have thought. In fact I have heard preachers who have preached entire sermons on this word falsly because they thought it meant "so much" when it fact it means "in this way". There is a big difference, and careful exegesis will keep us from these errors. Knowing and using biblical languages is not a trap. Faking to be something you are not, or being to lazy to take the time to learn them is. Charlie Blansit

Alan Handman

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I agree with Mr. Blansit. As one who does a lot of work with original languages, I almost fell over when I read that same sentence. Nor do I find it to be the case that people tune out when I start explaining a linguistic point. One simply had to do it in an interesting way (as in the comment above). Pedantic explanations on the other hand can make even the most fascinating topics in the world seem dry.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

"If you do not know them [the biblical languages], then I agree, do not employ there use." Well, that's one of the points he's making. But I suspect you may have misunderstood his larger point. It is clear from the context that when he writes about not referring to the original languages, he is talking about not doing so in the preaching of the sermon. There is nothing he has written to suggest that he has "an issue with the use of biblical languages" during the actual preparation of the sermon. The preparation of the sermon simply isn't within the scope of his comments.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Again, you seem to have missed the statement, "There is almost no good reason to make references to the original languages. And if you aren?t trained, there are even more reasons not to try." It seems that there is issue with using the original texts.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

There is no "issue with using the original texts." Any perceived "issue" on your part is due solely to the fact that you and the author are talking about two different things. You are talking about sermon preparation. The author isn't. He's talking about the preaching of the sermon itself. That's the context for the quote you just gave. Context is important.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

The title states, "5 Integrity Traps Waiting for Every Preacher", as well as going onto discussing lifted sermons. It is all about sermon preparation, not just delivery. Sir, I think you need to apprehend more of the content and form of this article than you are. The author is wrong, and out of order, and I have merely pointed that out. It seems, though, you have taken an offence on behalf of the author. I am sorry you misunderstand the author's intent.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I am a High School English Literature teacher. I have over twenty years of teaching experience. I have Master's Degrees in both Literature and Education. I spend nine months a year teaching 16 to 18 year olds how to interpret Shakespeare and Dickens and Faulkner and Steinbeck and Conrad and Hemingway and Mitchell and Doyle. I'm not writing this to brag. I'm writing this simply to say, with all respect to the author, I think I'm quite capable of apprehending the content and form of an article written by Peter Mead. And I take no offense on behalf of the author. The only offense I take, as a professional, is towards bad reading. I'm sorry, man. Nothing personal against you at all. But in my opinion, the one who is misunderstanding here is you. But hey, I tell my students everyday, "If you think I'm wrong and you're right, that's fine. Just prove me wrong." The title does not do so because a) it may not have been supplied by the author, and b) it doesn't clearly indicate a focus on preparation or delivery either way. And the discussion on "lifted sermons" makes the following point: "preaching [delivery] a lifted sermon as if it were your own, well, what do you think that says about integrity?" Sure, one could argue that--by implication--it has to do with delivery as well. I would grant you that point. But it is clear that the focus is on the delivery ("preaching a lifted sermon..."). Do you have any other evidence to prove me wrong?

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Correction:"Sure, one could argue that--by implication--it has to do with PREPARATION as well."

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Correction:"Sure, one could argue that--by implication--it has to do with PREPARATION as well."

Charles Blansit

commented on Jan 16, 2014

Bill, I appreciate your point, and you may be right, however, I want to share with you an experience. I once heard a preacher give a sermon on John 3:16. He was teaching that God loved you "so" very much, that He gave is only begotten Son. Now, the problem is, that the Greek word that is translated "so" in our English bibles does not have the same meaning today, as it did when it was originally translated into English. The word is better rendered "in this way". Now, I am not saying that the sermon I heard was bad, or that the Preacher was not effective, but from the standpoint of integrity it was wrong. Integrity does not always mean lying, cheating or stealing. Integrity can also mean accuracy. I am not trying to put down Mr. Mead, nor do I wish to have a heated argument, but I think that the his point about languages is wrong. Some of the greatest sermons that I have heard and read have made use of the orginal languages, and I do not think that making a statement like "There is almost no good reason to make reference to the original languages" is good advice in regards to integrity. I think there is a good reason, primarily in order to inform others who may not have correctly applied the word. Words are important, otherwise God would not have chosen this medium to reveal Himself to us. He also chose Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic as the modal language in which to do so. We must consider that God is not arbitrary. The English language is a living language, and therefore continues to grow throughout time. Meanings of words change. The original biblical languages are dead languages, and therefore definitions are fairly established and set. When we do not know this, we may find ourselves in error. All error is sin. Sin is an integrity issue. Can you understand my perspective?

Jon-En Wang

commented on Jan 11, 2014

I also agree with Mr. Blansit. I do not preach much, but I do teach a lot of Sunday School, small groups, etc. One of the studies I love to teach is the Precept study, which leads students to get into the original languages. I believe in doing everything possible to encourage study of the original languages by all, and so I disagree with Peter Mead's comment about "not to try". I try because I want to my students to see how rich God's Word is and how rewarding it is to get deep into His Word. To give the author the benefit of the doubt, he says "don't imply knowledge." Yes, we should not pretend to know more than we do, but I believe we can be humble and still get into the original languages. So instead of arguing about use of original languages, we should be encouraging all Bible teachers to set an example to the people around us of our love to study and teach God's Word, seeing it bear fruit first in our own lives, then also in the lives of those around us.

Sylvester Warsaw, Jr.

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I praise God for the education He's allowed me to get, but, the academy doesn't have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I truly believe we get caught up in ourselves trying to show our brilliance when in fact we do just the opposite show our ignorance. Please, don't misunderstand me like I said I value my education, but, the vast majority of our brothers and sisters sitting in the pews can careless about our knowing Hebrew or Greek. The vast majority want to know if we've set at the feet of Jesus being daily taught by Him and as He challenges us to challenge them to know the God who wants us to know Him. When people are truly honest they can tell when a person is authentic and has integrity because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their life. God have some very powerful preachers who've never even been to seminary, but, they sit at the feet of Jesus. It's about remembering the worship experience is about Jesus and we're His vessel, therefore, we're to walk in the spirit of humility because it's Jesus who draws people to Himself and not us.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Paul writes at 1 Thessalonians 5:12 that we are "to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you"... and agree that there is a need for integrity and consistency. One of the things I learnt from my time as a law student was to evaluate the author. The author in this instance is Peter Mead, involved in the leadership of an independent Bible church in the UK. He also serves as a director of Cor Deo, an innovative mentored ministry training program. It is certainly agreed that implying a level of knowledge that one does not have, is lacking in integrity. However, where there is a person in leadership (and people are reliant upon that person's skill and judgement) seeking to dissuade people from studying, claiming that "There is almost no good reason to make references to the original languages", then this needs to be seriously questioned. This line of thought is indicative of eroding the scriptures, undermining the people's desire to grow, through exercising a low-level control over the people. We are to know the truth and that truth will set us free. Where one in leadership directs people towards commentaries, other than to the word of God, then again, this serves to erode faith in Christ. It is akin to being directed to those claiming the earth is flat, while ignoring those claiming it was spherical. Man is fallible! Paul tells us at Galatians 1:12 that he was not taught by man, but by Christ...surely we have this self-same option? Pastor Jeff Hughes stated, that the "first comment is a tad condescending" and as Charles Blansit observed, there are many trying to rewrite scriptures and we need to be on our guard, as the Bereans were... The Bible was written by Jews, for Jews, about Jews, to Jews...and WE need to understand Jewish culture and language to gain a better understanding. When there are those teaching against it, they are teaching against Christ. It would seem to me that discouraging people from studying whilst trying to encourage them into a study program of training, would seem to be rooted in a vested interest of getting people to take up a course of study...after-all, the author is a director of an 'innovative mentored ministry training program'. This seems to me, to be distinctly lacking in integrity. As James tells us, that if we break one part, we break it all...therefore the rest of the points are irrelevant, as the first one is in error.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I fear you may be sharing in the same misunderstanding as some others here. The author is by no means "discouraging people from studying." That's not what the article is about. All he is saying is, do not imply a level of knowledge you don't have. That's it. He's not saying not to study. He's saying not to pretend you've studied more than you actually have! Nothing more. "As James tells us, that if we break one part, we break it all...therefore the rest of the points are irrelevant, as the first one is in error." Wow, speaking of studying, that is really bad logic there. Because James is talking about the law of God. So unless you are equating this article with the law of God, it is silly to assert that the rest of the author's points are irrelevant since the first one is "in error." Especially considering that the error you ascribe to the first point is based on a misunderstanding and is not actually there.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

It seems then, you failed to spot, "And if you aren?t trained, there are even more reasons not to try." Clearly, the author not only being discouraging, but condescending too, indicating that people should not consult original texts, nor even try to do so, unless one is trained by a man to do so... This both negates the ability of the Holy Spirit, and of Christ to bring teaching.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I'm sorry, but I really do believe that you are misreading and misunderstanding that particular point in the article. It seems that you failed to spot the very first sentence, which puts everything else that follows in context: "Listeners can sense a lack of integrity like dogs can sense when someone isn?t a canine fan." He is not talking about sermon preparation. He is not talking about consulting the original texts during sermon preparation. He is not saying one can only do so if trained by a man. Read the article again. He's not saying anything that you accuse him to be saying! He is talking specifically about the actual preaching experience, where listeners are present, AFTER the preparation has been done, AFTER the original texts have been consulted (if one has the necessary training). The point the author is making is that DURING the preaching experience, if the preacher implies a knowledge of the original languages that one does not actually possess, that displays a lack of integrity that listeners can pick up on. He is NOT saying, don't try to consult the original texts when preparing a sermon. The article isn't about that. He IS saying, don't imply that you have a knowledge of the original languages that you don't really have. Read it again, and you will see that it is that simple.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

The author states, "It?s interesting how many of the preachers with no training in biblical languages seem so quick to make reference to them." Where then does this supposed training originate? He has a vested interest, as he is a director of a training college or whatever, Cor Deo. Please understand ALL the article, not extracted quotes.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

"Please understand ALL the article, not extracted quotes." I suggest you follow this advice as well.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Have a good evening, Bill. I am no longer continuing a discussion with you, it is profitless and not beneficial. God Bless you, and yours, and have a great 2014.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Well, certainly it's up to you if you wish to end the conversation. I am sorry it was neither profitable nor beneficial to you since, honestly, it was for me. These are the kinds of discussions I enjoy with my classes. Looking at a text and trying to understand its meaning. Trying to see what the other is seeing. Looking for evidence that supports our interpretations. But ask my students, I don't let them off easily. I tell them, "I am very open to the possibility that I may be wrong and you may be right. But if that's the case, you have to prove me wrong!" I must've read this article a dozen times throughout the afternoon trying to see what you saw. So for me, it has been a good discussion which I've enjoyed, and which to be honest I'm sad to see it end. But I respect your choice, and I'm sorry the conversation was not as enjoyable to you as it was to me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. And keep in mind what I wrote above about not taking things too personally! Blessings to you!

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

The author is incorrect to make the bold statement, "There is almost no good reason to make references to the original languages. And if you aren?t trained, there are even more reasons not to try." If he is wrong at this point, then where else is he wrong? There is ALWAYS good reason to check words, context, the grammar, the idiomatic speech etc.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

He is not wrong at that point, because that is not his point. You continue to argue against a point he did not make! He is not talking about sermon preparation. That's what YOU'RE talking about, but it isn't what HE'S talking about. He is talking about the preaching of the sermon itself. And until you grasp that distinction, you will continue to misunderstand the point.

Michael In England

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Just to point out, "5 Integrity Traps Waiting for Every Preacher" - it is all about sermon preparation.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Ok, first of all, the headline of the article is not always chosen by the author. Sometimes it is chosen by the editor. So, excluding the headline (which I don't really think proves your assertion, anyway), could you provide evidence from the article itself that suggests that the focus of the article is on sermon preparation, as opposed to sermon delivery?

E. Larry Ross

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I do depend on others who are like Vines. I do often explain what a word or words mean in the original language because it does help the listener better understand what the author is saying. You can overdo it though. I once had a rather arrogant pastor ask me if I knew the original language for a text and what it was saying in Greek. I simply said no, but I do know what it says in plain English.

E. Larry Ross

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I do depend on others who are like Vines. I do often explain what a word or words mean in the original language because it does help the listener better understand what the author is saying. You can overdo it though. I once had a rather arrogant pastor ask me if I knew the original language for a text and what it was saying in Greek. I simply said no, but I do know what it says in plain English.

E. Larry Ross

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I do depend on others who are like Vines. I do often explain what a word or words mean in the original language because it does help the listener better understand what the author is saying. You can overdo it though. I once had a rather arrogant pastor ask me if I knew the original language for a text and what it was saying in Greek. I simply said no, but I do know what it says in plain English.

Anonymous

commented on Jan 10, 2014

So, you want to kick around some more points against those who labor tenuously to serve both the Lord and his people to make yourself fell superior? I refer to the original languages whenever there is a spiritual nugget that needs to be displayed, and your estimations is people like me are self-serving. Get a life.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Let me ask you a simple question: when you preach, do you imply that you have more knowledge than you really do? If the answer is no, then point #1 does not apply to you. I fear you are taking this much more personally than is healthy! The author is just a man like any other man. He is offering some advice to preachers, for whatever it's worth, and we are free to receive that advice or not, and to agree with it or not as we see fit. But it seems to me you are going beyond merely disagreeing. You seem to be taking this quite personally. What should it matter what the author's estimation of "people like you" is? Considering the fact that the author doesn't even know you! For that matter, none of us really know you, as no name is even displayed on your comments. Rather, should not the estimation of God alone be enough for us? If God sees Christ living in you, if he sees you as his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased, why get so defensive about how you perceive another man esteems you? It's not worth it. I've been there. There have been moments in my life when I would get much too defensive towards any criticism, either real or perceived, directed at me. It's not worth it, brother. My peace and my joy has increased greatly since I realized that God's opinion of me, alone, is the only thing that matters. So, disagree with the author all you want. Just make sure you're disagreeing with something that author is actually writing. And for the health of your spirituality, don't let it get to you personally!

Ferdinand C Nnadi

commented on Jan 10, 2014

Interesting viewpoints. I do believe, however, that writers and contributors to this site should aspire to do their homework properly before publication. Effective communicators take the knowledge the knowledge of their audience very seriously. It is time we realised that flaunting sundry degrees and projecting positions and status should not replace the essence of a succinct, logical and incisive thesis. Discerning minds connect with the argument and not necessarily the person making same.

Jared Ellis

commented on Jan 11, 2014

I think we can all agree we learned one lesson today in marketing; not every great graphic and gripping title delivers what it advertises. Well played Sermon Central, well played.

H S

commented on Jan 12, 2014

Integrity? For some reason I thought women were going to enter into this list. My pet peeve is when preachers use sermon illustrations that are totally bogus. No research to find out that the illustration is all made up. I've seen and heard complete sermons based on bogus facts and illustrations.

Steve Ryan

commented on Jan 12, 2014

aren't we all "lifting" sermons from Jesus, Paul, Matthew, Luke, John, Mark and many others??? is anyone since the scriptures were wrote really preaching an "original sermon"?

Bryan Thompson

commented on Jan 12, 2014

I had two years of Greek, but would not consider myself to be in any way a scholar and have no Hebrew/Aramaic training at all. I am clear on this with my folks and often poke fun at my knowledge, but I still find it helpful on occasion to refer to the original word or phrase to help folks understand the meaning of a passage. So many of the Greek words are similar to English ones we use every day. I think it's helpful to know this. I totally agree with you on "lifting" sermons. Ideas, anecdotes, etc, sure, that's OK, but when you lift a sermon word for word (plagiarism) that is flat our wrong. If you want to be honest and say, "Hey, I heard Pastor So-and-so preach this awesome sermon and I'm going to do my best to preach it exactly the same way", knock yourself out. Otherwise you are being dishonest.

Bryan Thompson

commented on Jan 12, 2014

Btw, I'm being facetious when I say "knock yourself out". Obviously nobody is going to do this. Write your own sermon. The Lord will help you. :)

Terry Lowder

commented on Jan 13, 2014

Its a bad article. Point number one especially. And put a sock in it Bill Williams. At some point you must realize that you are not always right. Please don't fear that everyone except you has misread and misinterpreted and misunderstood the article. The opposite in fact is true. People who have spent years getting their higher degree or those who have studied the biblical languages fell theu have some exclusive right to knowledge. The reason Vine and others wrote books is to give peope tools. My congregation knows I have not studied Hebrew, but they want me to study and I want to study. Bill that is the way we get knowledge we don't already have. Since you have bragged about your education and professional experience, how did you arrive at any knowledge? Did your instructor tell you that when you take the test, don't include answers that came from the books or notes because that is implying knowledge you don't have. Preachers should use all the tools available to them to explain and preach the Bible. And Bill don't tell someone to not lift a quote from an article. The article is a compilation of quotes! Just give up, the article is bad and you are not helping to redeem it.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 13, 2014

From your comments: "put a sock in it Bill Williams." From the words of Scripture: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." And from the words of our Lord himself, "as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them." If you would like to have a serious discussion of the contents of the article, I ask only that you refrain from personal attacks that do nothing to build each other up. If you wouldn't like someone to tell you to "put a sock in it" because they disagree with you about something, please don't do that to another brother or sister in Christ. "At some point you must realize that you are not always right." From an earlier comment I made below: "I tell [my students], 'I am very open to the possibility that I may be wrong and you may be right. But if that's the case, you have to prove me wrong!'" So rest assured, I am very aware that I am not always right. But neither am I wrong simply because you and Michael say so. The text of the article is right above us for the whole world to see. So by all means, show me where I'm wrong. Help me to see what I'm missing. Give me evidence from the context as a whole to support the assertion that the author is clearly discouraging the use of reference to the original languages specifically during the preparation of the sermon. And I will gladly recant if you do so. I have no interest in redeeming the article. But it just does not seem right to me for someone to criticize another for a point that I don't see is actually being made. Blessings to you, my brother!

Charles Gibbs

commented on Jan 13, 2014

I often refer to the original Greek, but only if there is an apparent connection between the Greek root word and an English word that my people are familiar with and only then if it adds to the richness of the passage. Though my listeners may challenge the last part. A. T. Robertson said if you want to be original in your preaching, you must study the original languages.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 13, 2014

Personally, whether or not a preacher refers to the original languages during the preaching of the sermon doesn't matter to me that much, either way. I've heard it done poorly and I've heard it done well. When it's done poorly, it never really ruins the sermon, although it does leave us listeners thinking, "Well, we really could've done without that." And when it's done well, it never really makes the sermon significantly better than it would've been otherwise. At least, that's my own experience. Others may have a different experience, and that's fine. Interestingly, our current pastor has been with us for about six years, now. He and I have formed a very good friendship, and I know for a fact that he studies directly from the originals. In fact, he does his daily Bible reading directly from the originals as well. He reads those languages just as easily as you or I read English. And in six years, I have never once heard him refer to the original languages in any of his sermons. I actually asked him about that over the weekend, and he just shrugged and said that he does refer to the originals. He just doesn't say, "The Hebrew says this," or "The Greek grammar tells us that." He said he just explains the original languages in plain English that everyone can understand, and that that's worked well for him through the years. I would tend to agree. Again, I don't think it's bad to refer to the original languages when preaching, and one should definitely refer to the original languages when studying, as far as one's skills allow. When training me to preach, our pastor taught me how to use Bible dictionaries and concordances and commentaries, and how to do word studies. And I use these tools and skills to the best of my abilities when preparing to preach. But I DEFINITELY would never say anything like "The Greek says this" when preaching, precisely for the very reason explained in point number 1 in the article. The people who listen to me know that I don't read Greek or Hebrew. It'd be silly of me to pretend otherwise! That's all that point is saying. But like I said, I have heard it done well, and if some of those commenting here CAN do it well, hey, more power to you! But I did find it interesting thinking about it over the weekend that the pastor we've had with the most knowledge of the original languages never refers to them explicitly when preaching.

Dee Dee Lawson

commented on Jan 13, 2014

I appreciate points 2-5 but that point 1 is bogus. Who are you to say we cannot reference an original language word unless we are some degreed scholar. To use an analogy your credentials mention a "wider ministry preaching and training preachers." What is that? How many years did you specifically go to school to learn how to train preachers? And, if I recall, Cor Deo only mentors male preachers. Which says to me that you are quite narrow of your view of preaching in general. But, back to my main point, if a preacher takes time to study a word or phrase based on the original language and that word/phrase offers insight or clarity to the understanding of the passage it SHOULD be mentioned. Same for if the word/phrase has bearing on the social, political or geographical understanding. It's pure bogus to insist that one have years of schooling to be able to reference an understanding of a word from the original Greek or Hebrew. Quite frankly, how many of us have years of schooling in our own English language?!

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 13, 2014

To be fair to him, he never says anything about being a "degreed scholar" or having "years of schooling." He uses the simple term "trained." Would you not agree that training in the Biblical languages is important? After all, how can you "study a word or phrase based on the original language" without having been trained. How do you know that a "word/phrase offers insight or clarity to the understanding of the passage" without having been trained. To do the very thing you are arguing in favor of requires some level of training! It is impossible to do what you say "SHOULD" be done, without training. Read the point again, and read it objectively, not defensively. He is clearly arguing against those who have "no training in biblical languages" (that's a direct quote from the article) referring to these languages as if this they did ("don?t imply knowledge you don?t have"--another direct quote from the article). I'm honestly quite surprised that this idea is being met with such resistance.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 13, 2014

Let me put it a simpler way: if you are sufficiently trained in the original languages to know that a "word/phrase [in the original language] offers insight or clarity to the understanding of the passage," then this point does not apply to you. As long as you arrived at such an insight through your own study, not from someone else, mentioning this in a sermon does not imply a knowledge you don't have. You do have it, so you're good! Go in peace!

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 13, 2014

You know, this conversation has been very interesting to me. I've been thinking about it, and I think the gist of the problem is the sentence, "There is almost no good reason to make references to the original languages." Now, that's just one sentence, and it's an assertion that could be legitimately argued either way. But I think what's happening is that many are interpreting the overall point in the context of that one statement (and thus drawing, I believe, wrong conclusions regarding the meaning of that point); rather than interpreting that one statement in the context of the overall point. Interesting. It makes me wonder if there would've been as much pushback had that one sentence not been in the article.

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