Macro- and Micro-Interpretations – an Excerpt from Christ-Centered Sermons

Cover ArtThe following is an excerpt from Christ-Centered Sermons, by Bryan Chapell.

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We should always observe biblical texts through spectacles containing the lenses of these two questions: How is the Holy Spirit revealing in this text the nature of God that provides redemption? And how is the Holy Spirit revealing in this text the nature of humanity that requires redemption? As long as we use these lenses, we will interpret as Christ did when he showed his disciples how all Scripture spoke of him.

Asking these two questions (or using these two lenses) maintains faithful exposition and demonstrates that redemptive interpretation does not require the preacher to run from Genesis to Revelation in every sermon to expound a text’s redemptive truths. While there is nothing wrong with such macro-interpretations, it is also possible—and often more fruitful—to identify the doctrinal statements or relational interactions in the immediate text that reveal some dimension of God’s grace.

The relational interactions in such micro-interpretations can include how God acts toward his people (e.g., providing strength for weakness, pardon for sin, provision in want, faithfulness in response to unfaithfulness) or how an individual representing God provides for others (e.g., David’s care for Mephibosheth, Solomon’s wisdom recorded for others less wise)…

In essence, redemptive exposition requires that we identify an aspect of our fallen condition that is addressed by the Holy Spirit in each passage, which he inspired for our edification, and then show God’s way out of the human dilemma. Identification of an appropriate fallen condition focus (FCF) will occur in each sermon of this book. Attention to such a pattern in Scripture not only exposes the human predicament that requires God’s relief but also forces the preacher to focus on a divine solution.

Our salvation rests in God’s provision. God’s glory is always the highest purpose of the sermon. The vaunting of human ability and puffing of human pride vanish in such preaching, not because imperatives of the law of God are minimized, but because God is always the hero of the text. He enables our righteousness, pardons our unrighteousness, and provides our strength rescuing us from our human dilemma.

©2013 by Bryan Chapell. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.
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