Pulpit Sin

Generally I’m very hesitant to add sins to the lists we are given in the Bible.  I’d rather preach the power of life transforming grace than the pressure of legalistic righteousness.  But forgive me this one time, I am going to add a sin to our lists.  It’s a sin some preachers commit.  It’s a sin we should never commit:

In my opinion preaching that is boring is a sin!  There, said it.

There is nothing spiritual or godly or Christlike or commendable about preaching in a boring manner.  The Bible is not boring!  Our task is neither to make it interesting, nor to add illustrative extras to make it interesting (add them for legitimate purposes, of course, but not because you think the Bible is boring!)

How can we avoid boring preaching?  There are many ways, but here are two pairs to bear in mind:

Avoid boring with poor content.  Look for ways to preach in a manner that is visual, i.e. that will make listeners respond with “Oh, I see what you’re saying!”  So in your explanation seek to help people “see what you’re saying.”  And in your application help people to “see what you’re saying.”  What does that involve?  It involves doing more than merely presenting information, or stating propositions, or making points.  It involves painting pictures with words of the imagery in a passage, or vividly describing the action in a narrative.  It involves painting pictures with words when describing application of the message.  Preach vivid so the listeners can see what you mean to say!

Avoid boring with poor delivery.  Look for ways to add energy to your presentation.  There are two primary areas to keep in mind.  The vocal needs energy.  And the visual needs energy.  Be sure to vary your volume, your pace, your tone, your use of pause.  Be sure to add energy to your eye contact, facial expression, gestures, movement, your whole presentation.  It is very easy to turn vivid and compelling content into a boring message by forcing it through the filter of poor delivery.  There is no virtue in looking and sounding as if the passage has been nothing more than soporific in your preparation.  Did Jesus preach in a bland voice and without expression?  I suspect not.  So let’s try to be more Christlike in our preaching!

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One thought on “Pulpit Sin

  1. Couldn’t agree more. There have been times when I have presented material in a lecture format on a Sunday morning and felt myself bored by my own preaching! Sad case, but repented of immediately. I read a book that I though might help spur you on to more on this topic. It is called “Expository Preaching With Word Pictures” by Jack Hughes. Very good book. He centers his book around Thomas Watson.

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