1PointPreacher Ep. 26 - Context: How Much?



1 Point Preacher
Episode 26

Show Notes:

Context—too much.
Not a matter of placement, but volume.

The common slip-up for expository preachers is to give too much information.

It can turn into a break in the preaching of the text; a lecture in the midst of the sermon.

The question: do I need all this?
I may like it, but it doesn't all belong in the sermon.

Too much information will be an obstacle to the congregation, rather than a help.

What is the problem with taking such a large amount of time on context?
In preaching: time = emphasis

The purpose: you said you would teach this, and cover this text. But you just talked about water, that wasn't in the text.

Did I need that in order to understand the text?

A sermon is supposed to move, there should be progression from introduction to conclusion.
When you include 10–15 minutes of context in the body of the sermon, it's like a detour.

Was that context necessary, or just interesting?
We we cut out that time from the sermon recording, would the sermon be comprehensible without it?

Let's be positive: how to use context properly.
How much context is needful?

What is context?
What's going on? The surrounding words, phrases, and verse; before and after.
Consider proportion, given your sermon text and preaching time.
Spend time on what the text spends time on.

What do you need to get through the text?

For preaching in the middle of a book (occasional sermon), give a very brief overview of what came before. It can be as quick as 45 seconds.

Too much context amounts to trivia.
We don't need all the extra-biblical historical information to understand the Bible.

We need to remember that God inspired his Word. He gave it, and it doesn't lack anything.
Explanation depends in large part on how you say it, your phraseology, your education and experience.

If you want to teach a discipleship class / Sunday school and give a 1 hour introduction to the book, then do it.
Because a sermon is not a lecture, nor a seminary class.

Whatever is the point of the text is your point too.
But a lot of times when you're doing a lot of background and context, you lose sight of that.
The purpose of context is to make the point more clear, draw it out.
Not conceal it, drown it out.

Diagnostic question for context: does it align with the exegetical point, or not?
It may be fun and interesting information, but does it draw attention away from the point of the text?

Proper placement of context:
Don't put it all in the front of your sermon.
Context as you go, as needed.

When the text talks about it, talk about it. Don't go back and forth. That takes even more time.

Fit context in the flow of your sermon.

Whatever verse you are at, that's when you include any necessary context to explain that part.

Deliver context in a way that is comprehensible.
How can they understand this, without the hours of study you did that week?

If you are a responsible pastor/elder, you are having regular conversations with your people.
You have so much to teach, but don't forget there are other days and times throughout the week.

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