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Form-fit Preaching

How the genre of the biblical text should shape sermon structure.

If you preach a series on the Psalms and every sermon has three points, you may be suffering from acute hardening of the outlines. A cure can be found in Jeffrey Arthurs's new book Preaching with Variety. He notes the variety of ways God communicates in Scripture—poetry, parables, proverbs, epistles, narratives, and more. He points out the varied effects those genres have on recipients and how our preaching can be more powerful if we link sermon form to text form.

The more I learn about nature, the more amazed I am at God's creativity and variety. Just the other night, studying with my seventh grade son, I learned that the Amazon rainforest hosts 20 million species of insects! That's species, not individual bugs. This world bursts with an inventive and sometimes wry display of God's power and glory, and variety is part of that glory.

God communicates with variety. Consider, for instance, the Bible's cornucopia of literary forms—poetry, law, parable, to name ...

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