“What is Preaching?”
At Timberlake, the answer to that question is rooted in theology which instructs our practice. To understand the preaching philosophy we have, you must understand one very important doctrinal truth:
We believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
- We say inspired because God breathes out the very words of Scripture. When you read the Bible, you are reading words brought directly from the mind of God.
- We say inerrant because the Scriptures are absolutely true and completely free from error. God is truth, and therefore the words He gives are true.
- We say authoritative because when God the creator speaks to us, His creation, the words He gives are totally binding and determine reality for us.
You must understand the nature of the Bible itself, but you also have to understand our position as those serving Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us we are ambassadors for Christ. We do not carry our own message or give our own ideas; we deliver the message of another.
If these three words accurately describe the Bible, and if we are nothing more than slaves of Christ serving as His messengers, then we must preach the Scriptures and only the Scriptures.
This means we will have a text driven style of preaching. We draw the content of our messages from the text itself. We do not come up with an idea and then go to the Bible to find supporting verses. Instead we start with the text and let it determine the content of our message. Most often this means preaching through entire books of the Bible, paragraph by paragraph.
We do this through studying a passage in its given context and by closely examining the grammar of the given passage and the historical background in which it was written. Our goal is first to find out what the author intended to say to his original audience. What point was he trying to make, and how would the original readers have understood what the author wrote? Once we have determined the authors meaning to the original audience, then we are ready to make the jump from the ancient world to the modern and apply the passage to life and ministry today.
In a nutshell, our orders are to “preach the Word.” (2 Tim. 4:2) This means we tell people what God intended to say, not what we desire to say. God’s message is authoritative, not man’s.