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Pastor to Pastor

The Ministry of Preaching (3)

Meditation is the key to effective preaching.

One thingI have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the L
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the L
And to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 27.4

The Christian Ministry: Part VI, chapter II
Charles Bridges (1794-1869)

“The habit of meditation (to which we now refer) is the exercise of the mind on spiritual objects for spiritual purposes, fixing a clear and permanent impression of truth. Our Divine Master inculcates this habit as the immediate preparation for our public work…A man nourishes himself with it, if he lives upon it; and he lives upon it, if he changes it as it were into his own substance; if he practices it himself; if he renders it proper and familiar to himself, so as to make it the food and nourishment, with which he ought to feed others.”

Preparing a message takes at least a week, much of which will be spent in meditation. And that week assumes a considerable amount of spadework already accomplished. Meditation is the key to becoming immersed in a text. We need to get inside the text and let the text get inside us, let the substance of the text transform us into its own substance. Let its beauty surround, engulf, and pervade us. Let Jesus emerge from the text in His radiant holiness and overcoming love. Preaching is not just passing along Biblical information; it is proclaiming life! Preaching puts Jesus before His people, to see His beauty, hear His will, and be revived in Him.We will be better at this facet of our calling to the extent that the text of Scripture grips and transforms us before we turn to recommend it to others. And meditation, “the exercise of the mind on spiritual objects for spiritual purposes,” is the key to transformation.

Do you make enough time in your sermon preparation for extensive meditation on the text you are preparing?

T. M. Moore

True Spirituality
Spiritual objects for spiritual purposes. It’s hard to know how we could accomplish this unless we were increasing in our spiritual lives, and focused on the spiritual growth and impact of our churches in our communities. Our course Introduction to Spiritual Theology can help you discover a sure and certain path for spiritual growth – for yourself and your church. The course includes brief videos, a workbook, and additional readings and exercises. It’s free and online, and you can study at your own pace and schedule. For more information, click here.

A Hermeneutical Handbook
Our book Text to Transformation provides a concise outline and overview of the work of hermeneutics, exegesis, and proclamation. It can serve as a review and checklist for your work of preaching, or as a handbook to teach church leaders the disciplines of Biblical interpretation. To order a copy, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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