Presently, I am reading/rereading a book by Bryan Chapell titled Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon. The following is a brief extract that conveys my most heartfelt desire for my preaching and teaching:
In one of the key debates during the formulation of the Westminster Confession of Faith, one scholar spoke with great skill and persuasiveness for a position that would have mired the church in political debate for many years. As the man spoke, George Gillespie prepared a rebuttal in the same room. As they watched him write furiously on a tablet, all in the assembly knew the pressure on the young man to organize a response while the scholar delivered one telling argument after anohter. Yet when Gillespie rose, his words were filled with such power and scriptural persuasion that the haste of his preparation was not discernible. Gillespie’s message so impressed those assembled as the wisdom of God that the opposing scholar conceded that a lifetime of study and just been undone by the younger man’s presentation. When the matter was decided, the firends of Gillespie snatched from his desk the tablet on which he had so hastily collected his thoughts. They expected to find a brilliant summary of the words os masterfully just delivered. Instedad, they found only one phrase written over and over again: Da lucem, Domine (Give light, O Lord).
Over and over Gilespie had prayed for more light from God. Instead of the genius of his own thought, this valiant Reformer wanted more of the mind of God. His humble prayer for God to shed mroe light on the Word is the goal of vevery expositor. We pray that God will shed more light on his Word through us. We know that what we say must be biblically apparent, logically consistent, and unquestionably clear if we are to be the faithful guides God requires. It is not enough for our words to be true or our intentions to begood. To the extent that our words obscure his Word, we fail in our task. To the degree that our words illuminate the pages of Scripture, God answers our and our listeners’ prayers.