A Pressing Question – What makes a sermon biblical?

I have really enjoyed the discussion on the current Question of the Week. It has brought to the surface a question I have personally wrestled with for 15 years of pastoral ministry and now force my students to wrestle with. The question is, What makes a sermon biblical? At first glance, this may seem like an easy question but it’s not that simple- just ask my students. Is a biblical sermon one that cites multiple texts? We have all heard sermons that cited and quoted scripture that we wouldn’t likely call a biblical sermon. Does a sermon need to cite any text at all to be biblical? Okay, give it your best shot. In no more than one sentence (and no run-on sentences for you Apostle Pauls out there), What makes a sermon biblical?

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4 thoughts on “A Pressing Question – What makes a sermon biblical?

  1. Yikes- here goes…. A sermon is biblical when it incarnates the Truth of God and forces the hearer to wrestle with the implications of that truth for their life and faith (and that of the broader community of faith) in a transformational way.

    • Jeremiah, this is an excellent crack at a surprisingly difficult question. My response comes very close to your own. I would go say far as suggesting that a biblical sermon not only incarnates truth but incarnates Christ in the moment the words are spoken so that people can encounter Him. I notice what is missing from your response. You don’t say anything about the biblical text. How does that fit in? Is it possible for a sermon to incarnate The Truth without a corresponding true text from scripture?

      • Lenny:

        I had a similar thought. To take your question a bit further – is a sermon that (tries to) incarnates truth with “without a corresponding true text from scripture” truly Biblical? Your question asks the question “can this happen.” I am asking “even if it does, does that make it Biblical”?

        • Good point. Let me be less cryptic here. Can a sermon say and do what the bible does overall without citing a specific text? If the content and purpose of the sermon corresponds to the content and purpose of Scripture, without necessarily citing a text, can it still be considered biblical? Challenging question…at least for me:-)