The plea of those who set the style for contemporary preaching is that our age needs biblical preaching. The American culture, however, presents difficulties so tremendous as to make true biblical preaching almost impossible. This article will develop the predicament of preaching and then present practical techniques on how to surmount some of the difficulties.

Preachers of different sorts call their preaching biblical, and so the term must be pinned down.

The preaching with the weakest claim to be called biblical is that based on biblical ethics. Only the behavior patterns of a Christian ethic as presented in the Bible are considered relevant to the present age. Biblical theology is neglected as fit only for a less sophisticated era.

The second level of biblical preaching is that which uses the scriptural material as a springboard for a discussion of current problems of life, using modern cultural patterns and language. The words of the text are applied directly to the problem, and the difference between preachers is the choice of text.

The third level is actually a subdivision of the above. The text is developed using mostly biblical illustrations, and the sermon is liberally laced with quotations of familiar Bible verses.

The fourth level is that of the doctrinal preacher who develops logical statements of faith on the basis of clearly applicable Bible verses. The weakness of this preaching is that generally the preacher examines only the Scriptures which clearly uphold his position. The difficult passages are ignored or glossed over by some rhetorical sleight of hand. Doctrinal preaching can very easily become philosophical or creedal preaching rather than biblical preaching.

These levels are progressively more biblical. Some ...

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