Most Christians would agree that a biblical sermon is a good thing, but how many would actually be able to define what makes a biblical sermon biblical?
“The fact is, most people think biblical communication is a style,” says Dr. J. Kent Edwards, tenured professor of preaching and leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and founding pastor of Oasis Community Church in Yorba Linda, California. “In many cases, people will think that to preach biblically means to work through verse by verse, through a biblical text: ‘This morning, we are at Romans 5:3c, and we’re going to continue by looking at part “d” of this verse, and we’ll see how far God takes us.’ That’s a style. That’s just a style.”
In contrast to a particular style of preaching, Dr. Edwards teaches in his new Mobile Ed course, CM102 Invitation to Biblical Preaching I: Theological, Historical, and Pragmatic Reasons for Preaching, that biblical preaching is an entire philosophy that extends to all different styles of preaching.
According to Dr. Edwards, a biblical sermon “. . . asks the question, ‘Are we going to subject the Scriptures to our thought, or do we subject our thought to the Scriptures? Who’s the boss here? Does the Bible determine what I say, or do I determine what I say?’”
“A biblical sermon is under the Bible,” says Dr. Edwards. “A biblical sermon says that all that matters is what God communicated through the biblical writers.”
Common questions regarding application are fine, he says—but only if they’re asked in the right order. “Don’t you dare ask the question, ‘What does this mean to me? What does this mean to my audience?’ before you’ve asked the question, ‘What is the biblical author saying to the original audience? What was the original author communicating to his original audience?’ That’s how you must begin. That must be the paramount question, because that’s what you want to communicate, because only when you do that are you communicating what God wrote in his Bible.”
In this course, Dr. Edwards also answers the question “Why preach?” He outlines the challenges to preaching biblically that you’ll face, and he shows you the steps you can take to overcome them.
Learn biblical preaching in community this summer
For the first time ever, Mobile Ed is offering the opportunity to take this preaching course in a moderated community as part of Mobile Ed Summer Session. Dr. Ed Cook—one of Mobile Ed’s own contributing editors—will walk you and others through this course, offering a study schedule, posing discussion questions, and interacting with you as you learn. CM102 Summer Session will take place from July 13–July 24.