Thanks to Sarah for commenting on the post about Illustration Saturation. As I mentioned in the post, many of us struggle with finding and using “illustration” material. Sarah asked how to improve at intersecting life experiences with the text. Here are a few random thoughts to get us going. Certainly this is no developed strategy, but it is a start:
Read Bible With Sensitivity to Humanity – When studying the Bible, it is right to be theocentric in our reading because the text itself is theocentric. God is the main character of the Bible and should be the central focus of our preaching. However, some preachers preach as if humans are irrelevant to the Biblical story and all we need to preach is God / Christ. The reality is that the Bible is all about God as He interacts and engages with humanity. Consequently, as we read any passage, we will also catch continual glimpses of human reality. Bryan Chappell refers to the Fallen Condition Focus. Are the characters doubting or trusting, in what, why? Are they loving or hating, who, why? What is the effect of the Fall in these people, what is God’s provision, what is their response? These kinds of questions help us to look at people in the text and see that they are people like us. Once we see them as real people rather than flannel-graph characters, then it is easier to highlight intersection between the characters in the text and our own life experiences.
Read Life with Biblical Sensitivity – As a preacher you are not always reading the Bible. Once in a while you do other things too. Whether it is watching the news or entertainment, people watching at work or in the store, enjoying the joys of parenting or whatever . . . try to read life with a sensitivity to what the Bible teaches. Why are they acting this way? What is this attitude called biblically? What character in the Bible does this person remind me of? We need to read the Bible as it is, real and living revelation of reality. We need to observe life around us as it is, a living out of the Biblically described reality.
More thoughts tomorrow. Feel free to comment, this issue could be addressed from many angles.