To finish off this series of posts on preaching Proverbs, here is a randomly organized collection of brief thoughts. See what I did there?
1. Preaching topically may be fine. I’ve avoided the more obvious approach of addressing a subject that Proverbs addresses with multiple references, but it’s fine to do that. And it would be fine to not be exhaustive, why not just focus more on two or three proverbs and aim for effectiveness over exhaustiveness?
2. Preaching a shorter sermon will be appreciated. I’ve shared how a full-length sermon may be possible from a two line truth, but why not preach short? Finish ten minutes early and your listeners may talk about the message for years!
3. Preaching a section may be effective. You can check out Bruce Waltke and discover structure that you’ve never seen before. Or you can go where my Hebrew prof suggested . . . preach a series of apparently random proverbs since that is how life is experienced from our perspective.
4. Remember that Proverbs is primarily observation, not promise. Don’t turn an observation of life lived under the covenant of Deuteronomy 28-30 into a promise for all people of God in every age.
5. Preach a pugilistic match-up of contemporary wisdom with Proverbial sagacity. That is, take a saying from our culture and watch it lose in a fight with one of God’s inspired sayings.
6. Preach Proverbs with humour and with poetry. Help people see what life is like and what it could be like with a healthy dose of sanctified wit and biblically saturated poetic presentation. Certainly the main idea should be proverbial, poetic, memorable, pithy, precise.
7. Preach Proverbs for living with godly wisdom, don’t preach godly wisdom to fuel the fires of self-centred success.
8. Provoke further thought, don’t bore listeners into submission as if your extensive knowledge is the focus. Their further thought, in the fear of Lord, worked into their hearts and lives: that is the focus.
And if you don’t have it yet, get hold of a copy of Jeff Arthurs book, Preaching with Variety – his chapter on Proverbs alone is worth the price of the book. Actually, the rest is good too . . . and I will be giving a copy away on the facebook page promotion later this month – click here to go to the promo information.
2 thoughts on “Preaching Proverbs 5: Random Thoughts”
Thanks for all of this, Peter. Much to consider. Blessings to you.
I resonate immediately with your idea of grouping maybe three proverbs on the same topic together to form a more conventional preaching unit. It also seems that preaching the proverbs with a more Inductive approach might be the way to go. That is, front-load your illustrations and probing questions and then let the actual reading of the proverb itself form the final, climactic point of the message.