The Big Idea approach to preaching was birthed out of a clear understanding of the nature of communication. When persons communicate they don’t simply fire words out into nowhere (I know some blogs may give this impression, but that doesn’t change communication truths!) Rather, communication involves seeking to lead another party to the point of understanding an idea that is being expressed. Communication is about ideas and we want the other party to say, “I see what you are saying!”
Ideas change lives. People give themselves to ideas. And Christianity is a content-based faith – i.e. it can be communicated, it consists in ideas. This is why a very high view of Scripture resonates with a commitment to expository preaching. Bringing out from the text the meaning that is there and seeking to effectively communicate that truth to others with an emphasis on why it matters to them is a driving force in our lives as expository preachers.
But don’t miss a critical factor in all of this. Too easily we fall out of true expository preaching and into historical lecturing. This occurs when our focus becomes primarily zeroed on the historical event of the communication – i.e. Paul to the Colossians. It is vital that we spend some time there since the original intent of the author is critical, but we cannot remain there.
The Bible is God’s communication to humanity, which includes my hearers this Sunday. What is it that God is intending to communicate and desiring them to see for themselves? That is not to say that there is a hidden message that we have to mine and offer this week. We will be rooted in Paul’s meaning to the Colossians, but always with a profound awareness of the unique and fresh engagement that God desires with our hearers on this occasion.
Biblical preaching is not really about informing motivated folks from a trustworthy ancient text. It is much more than that. Biblical preaching is about God’s active engagement with His people right now.