Pastors – Encourage a Culture of Bible Engagement, Explain Your Interpretive Process Process
One purpose of the stevebelsheim.com blog is “to pass along to Pastors and church leaders advice and comments about increasing Bible engagement among the people in their churches.” A recent article from the 9marks website encourages Pastors to explain their interpretative process for the sermon text. Lucas O’Neill wrote an April 15, 2019 article entitled “Preachers, Don’t Just Explain What the Text Means – Tell Us How You Got There” (https://www.9marks.org/article/preachers-dont-just-explain-what-the-text-means-tell-us-how-you-got-there/). His article lists five compelling reasons why a sermon ought to include an explanation of the interpretative process. These five reasons are: (1) so that your listeners can learn to read and teach the Bible themselves, (2) so that they will trust you, (3) so that they can test you, (4) so that what is preached lands with authority, and (5) so that they can better respond to your attempts to shape their doctrinal thinking.
His first reason aligns with my purpose to increase Bible engagement in the church. Generally speaking, a Pastor exerts considerable influence on the culture of those he shepherds. When a Pastor explains his interpretative process, he shows that he considers Bible study to be necessary. By his publicly placing importance on Bible study, his congregation should acquire a greater interest in learning how to study the Bible. A higher desire to learn Bible study will increase Bible engagement in the church body. If you want to increase Bible engagement, instruct them how you arrived at your interpretation of the text. Who Knows? You may whet the appetite of a new crop of Bible exegetes in your church.