What Is Biblical Preaching?: The Demonstration of the Spirit’s Power in Preaching


When the Spirit moves during a sermon, what does it look like?

The Apostle Paul made a statement that should resonate in the mind of every preacher with the courage to stand behind a pulpit and declare “thus saith the Lord” to any audience: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1. Cor. 2:4).

The question arises: Does this passage present a rubric for effective delivery of God’s word?

Like many people I grew up with, I was raised in an era that saw a revival of popularity in a TV series that originally aired before my birth. The original Star Trek is the grandaddy of all sci-fi space odysseys. Most of my friends could quote the opening lines: “Space—the final frontier. These are the voyages of … ” And so on and so on.

For many, Captain Kirk was the ultimate hero. He was the model of modern leadership: handsome, wise, decisive, witty, willing to lay down his life for his crew at any given moment and of course, over the top.

My favorite character, though, was none other than Mr. Spock. Leonard Nimoy brilliantly portrayed a humanoid from an alien race who had a trait more distinctive than his pointy ears. Mr. Spock was a Vulcan, and Vulcans had evolved to be a superior people in comparison with the futuristic humans whose origin was Earth.

It did not take long to learn that this evolution had taught the Vulcans how to completely suppress emotions. Emotions were seen as the root of all evil, of all wars, of the unnecessary pursuit of romantic relationships, and other flaws that made earthly humans sub-par.

Kirk and Spock were the yin and yang, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the Batman and Robin of space. They were diametrically opposite. Kirk was led by emotions, but …

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