A little while ago, a preacher called me and asked me about his idea for a sermon. He wanted me to critique his sermon idea and give him pointers on how he should proceed. Before he started talking about his idea, I asked him, “What is the scripture that you are going to use?” The preacher then told me, “I have a sermon, maybe you can help me find a scripture so that I can preach it.”
In this video, I wanted to give you a quick overview on how to set up your workspace inside of Logos Bible software. After looking at the video you will have a good grasp of setting up your workspace, inside of Logos Bible Software version 4, for some solid exegesis and sermon preparation.
This is a common question that comes up from time to time. I feel like I might be stepping into the lions den in answering it, but here goes. First, one must recognize that there are two issues here. Which version to use when preaching and what version should you use in preparation? I will write about the preparation piece in a few days. There I will argue that you should use many versions, but that is for another post.
As to which version to use in preaching, personally, I like to use the King James version whenever possible. However, I believe it is best to use the translation that is the accepted translation in the congregation that you are preaching. I’ve been in congregations where the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is the default translation. So even though I might use the KJV and other translations in exegesis, when it is time to preach to those congregations, I use the NASB.
From my perspective, it’s not something to battle over. I wouldn’t use the New International Version (NIV) in some congregations that believe the NIV is evil. There are some congregations that believe that other translations are problematic. Unless you want to go and teach people why different translations are used and how they were created then you should use the translation that they use. If you ain’t talking about translations in your sermon then use their translation. Now a default acceptable translation in most places is the King James. However, there are some places where to use such a translation will cause issues. Again the question becomes do you want to address the issues in your sermon, or do you want to preach your sermon?
Again, I am not talking about the translation(s) used in preparation. I will argue in another post why we should use a multitude of translation. I am arguing here that in presentation, you must be careful to take the “hearers” of your sermon into consideration. Don’t close their ears on you over a translation – unless you’re making a statement about Bible translation. Unless that is your point, then I would say, use the translation that’s operative in that particular congregation.
Often preachers can make it seem as though the Bible is irrelevant for contemporary needs and society. Part of the problem is that we don’t truly allow the Bible to speak to us. We either change the question that those of today are asking and and then quickly come in with an answer from the Bible, or we give the answer from the Bible to a question that no one is asking.
In both instances the Bible is left at arms length from the people. But is there a way to let an ancient book speak to the needs of contemporary people? I think there is, but it is not terribly easy. It requires work on the part of the preacher. We must dig down deep into both the text and contemporary society. While I cannot tell you exactly what to do in this short article, I can point you in the correct direction. If you want to find out about a full preaching course, you can access the information at http://www.superchargeyoursermons.com.
The first thing that one must do if one is to make the ancient book applicable to contemporary society is to UNDERSTAND the book and the society. Too often we come to the text with a superficial understanding of either the Bible or society and thus come up with superficial answers. Part of the reason for the proliferation of the prosperity Gospel and other pop-gospels is a superficial reading of scripture. We don’t’ really understand the scripture before we start applying it to society and we mess things up.
Another problem however is when we don’t really understand the culture we are trying to address. We have all seen the 50 year old conservative preacher attempting to connect to the youth by using their jargon and putting on their clothes only to find out that they are only a superficial understanding of the youth. Instead of attempting to use their jargon why not tap into your own insecurities that you had when you were young. While the jargon has changed, understanding your motives and desires and difficulties from your own youth will help you to connect to them on a deeper level.
The next thing that we must do if we are to address the contemporary world is to EXPERIENCE the Bible world and the present world. I have said that you need to take a walk in the Bible world. Understand it in your senses and your emotions. Look around and smell and feel what is going on in the text. Now it is time to go to your people and do the same thing. How does Sister Betty feel about the cancer diagnoses? What are the emotions that would be going on in your mind? What about Brother Lance who just lost his job and wonders about putting food on the table for his 2 year old Baby. And how about the feelings that are going through the mind of Mother Alice who has lost her husband of 40 years. One of the most powerful ways to make a text relevant is to show that these basic feelings and pains and hurts that we feel today were not only operative, but were addressed by the Book.
So understand and experience both the text and today’s world and you will be in a position to connect the text to your people in profound and powerful ways.
The Expository Thoughts Website has an article that graphs the Daily Devotions of to the ESV devotions site. We see that there is, as you might expect, a spike in January and then a drop that only goes up at another huge spike in December.
There are two things that this makes me wonder. The first is what can we as preachers do to help people keep up their daily devotions? While it is true that ultimately whether a person keeps daily devotions is up to them, the preacher can probably do some things that might at least influence people to continue devotions?
The second thing I wonder about is what does the graph look like for preachers? My guess is that it is exactly the same graph. As preacher’s we must recognize that our power comes from our connection to God. That connection comes from prayer and Bible study. Without it, we are adrift. So the second question that we as preachers must contemplate is how can we motivate ourselves to pick up and continue our devotions?