The Three-Steps: Biblical Interpretation for Preaching – Pablo Jimenez

Posted on July 21, 2014 by drpablojimenez

Printable version & Powerpoint Notes: Biblical Preaching 102

I have used the Three-Steps System for many years, always receiving great feed back from the students. I hope you find this system useful. It has been developed in dialogue with the writings of Ronald J. Allen, particularly with Contemporary Biblical Interpretation for Preaching (Judson Press, 1984) & Interpreting the Gospel: An Introduction to Preaching (Chalice Press, 1998).

I. Point of contact: First Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons (Estimated time: 30 — 45 minutes)

Begin with prayer. Ask God to make you sensible to the Word and to speak through your sermon to the congregation. Keep a devotional atmosphere throughout the exercise.

Read the text several times. Work primarily with the translation that has become part of your own being. Compare it with other translations for the purpose of contrasting emphasis, movement, and structure. Some recommended translations are: NRSV, RSV, JB, NIV, TEV and NEB. Do not use secondary sources for this exercise.

Read the text once more, aloud and with feeling. Only then, proceed to answer the following questions.

1.What are the questions that this text sparks?

2.What feelings surface as you read the text?

3.What memories does the text cause you to recall?

4.Imagine that you are immersed in the world of the text:

What do you see?
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
What do you touch?
What do you taste?
How does it feel to be in that world?
5.Has your perception of the text changed? How?

6.What is this text about? List the topics and ideas suggested by the text.

II. Explanation: Second Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons (Estimated time: 60-90 minutes)

After a direct interaction with the text, turn to secondary sources such as commentaries, dictionaries, and other homiletic aids. Insofar as possible, identify the historical context in which the text is found. Then, proceed to answer the following questions.

1.What was the situation of the community to whom the text was written?

2.Identify the form, the function and the literary structure of the text.

3.Note the key words of the text. How are they used in this particular document?

4.Have you found answers to you questions about the text?

5.What are the mayor theological claims of the text?

6.Enumerate the topics suggested by the text.

III. Interpretation: Third Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons (Estimated time: 30-45 minutes)

Move once again to the present, exploring the message of the text for the contemporary Church. Make the hermeneutic movement self-consciously and critically. Then, proceed to answer the following questions.

1.Establish a correlation between your social location and the social location of the text. What realities function in our world in the same way as in the world of the text?

Identify the salvific elements. Identify the sources of conflict.
Who is the powerful? Who are powerless?
In order to interpret the text appropriately, with whom do we should identify with in the text?
2.Does the function of the text in its ancient setting suggest a possible function for our sermon in our setting?

3.Does the form or the literary structure of the text suggest a given design for the sermon?

4.Does the text suggest any guidelines for contemporary pastoral action?

5.What are the “good news” for the congregation? For the Church at large? For the world?

6.Enumerate the possible “sermons-in-a-sentence” suggested by the text.

Ubuntu – A Bilingual Sermon – Dr. Pablo Jimenez

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The Power of a Vision – Part 2

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The Power of a Vision – Part 1

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The Declining Church

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Have you noticed?

September 2, 2014
Have you noticed?
How idolatry has penetrated our culture

Have you noticed? Have you given it much thought? Lately the entire world seems tied up in the rich, the famous, the celebrity, or the notorious. Even the bad guys are not really bad. Have you seen any of the Disney movies lately? (Spoiler Alert) Maleficent whose name in essence signifies evil, is not the bad guy of the movie she’s the good fairy. She’s the protector, the bad guy I the king.
The message is completely twisted around. In recent years we have seen how the culture and idolization, a nicer description of idolatry has penetrated every aspect of our culture. We that live in the United States have seen it in the now not as flashy or popular American Idol shows. Where the entire nation stopped just to watch. It even became an attraction, a ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against Disney or Hollywood or entertainment but my issue is how we American’s, a culture that prided itself in thinking big, being generous, fair play, reaching for the stars, have allowed the triviality to penetrate our lives.
In this postmodern world where everything is allowed, there is no good or bad, only relativity, no truth, just perspectives of reality, we have allowed the triviality of celebrity worship to penetrate our lives.
I used to be a fan of ABC’s Good Morning America, I would love to watch the interaction the way the brought the news, but slowly very subtly the show has changed. It is now 90% frivolous trivia such as “The first pictures of Angelina Jolie’s wedding dress”. You would hardly hear anything about the investigation on the shooting of Michael Brown a man from Ferguson Missouri just for walking down the street. When we do hear something all we hear is that he was “involved in an incident of stealing cigars”.  You see our culture now needs to make him a criminal, a desperado that had to be put down.  We  hear no evidence,  did he did indeed have any cigars from the store in his pockets, or if did an all points bulletin (APB) with the description of the perpetrator go out. This young man was walking down the street and because he was on the street instead of the sidewalk a police stops him has an argument and empties his gun on him. What happened to due process?, Innocent until proven guilty. Trial by jury of our peers? All left out to dry because obviously the man is guilty, you see he is black, so he must be guilty. The same applies to Hispanics, or anyone that is a person of color (by the way that means not white) in the United States.
I see our country more and more polarized, since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, with have become a bitter nation, a paranoid people, that sees anyone that is not part of the “majority” as suspicious and we are distracted by the constant swirl of triviality from the media.
With all due respect to Brad and Angelina I could care less what color the dress was in their wedding after living together for 10 years. I really don’t care if your adopted children (kudos for that) drew on it or not, it is simply none of my business and it does not affect my world, my apologies for disappointing you.
Astronomer Carl Sagan called the Earth, the home we all share and have “a pale blue dot”. And really that’s what it is, Carl was the consummate observer, and when he convinced NASA to turn around Voyager 1’s camera in 1990 for one last look, that’s what he saw just a pale blue dot. But that pale blue dot is in trouble, we have big problems to solve and this world will need big people to solve them, not cardboard cutouts of celebrities with a depth of 0.25 inches of foam but real people with a depth of knowledge of humanity, economics, science and of course theology to guide this planet into how it needs to correct the mistakes of the past so we can have a future for our children.
To do so we need to recognize our mistakes. Its the first step to correcting them, if we don’t we will have the same trivial discussion we keep having, why is congress stalled in gridlock? guess? We have serious problems and it is time that we stop looking at what color was the dress celebrity x had. And we see what my neighbor’s needs are.

Blessings,

Manuel Collazo
Minister for Stewardship Education