Exegesis1 is foundational to understand scripture’s application to our lives. The problem is that many in the members and visitors want to hear the application2 without doing the work of the exegete.3 Far too much preaching has been observed or translated into this way many preachers preach. In order to keep congregants happy, and get them to nod4 they are given large amounts of life application with little if any scriptural content.5 This puts both the preacher and the congregant in a unsafe position, because now neither the preacher nor the member or visitor is connected in to the text.
Two key problems can arise in the life of the church member because of this. First, even if the application of scripture is correct, when it is confronted by those who disagree, the church member is left powerless when it comes to defending this truth biblically. And second, if the application is not truly resulting from scripture, then the church member has been given some kind of self-help scheme6 as if were a “biblical principle.” And when this self help proposal7 eventually lets them down, not only will they be disappointed in the church, but they may even start to believe scripture is no longer trustworthy. This is indeed a destructive tendency.
1 The analysis of the text. The explanation or interpretation of the text.
2 The relevance or purpose of the text as the meaning would apply to my life.
3 A student and interpreter of the texts.
4 To get the people to nod their head to show their agreement with what is said.
5 The preaching has little biblical theology or teaching of doctrine. Simply life applications applied.
6 A systematic plan of action that may or may not be biblical, but an opinion on the text which they may not have before them.
7 The statement of making a suggestion or stating an intention of action, which proves to be unbiblical.