From Faith Pulpit, Winter 2014. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
God’s people understand that the Bible demands the preaching of God’s Word. Faithful ministers will, therefore, preach God’s Word, and God’s people will listen to the proclamation of His Word. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 and 2 Timothy 3:15—4:2 demonstrate the priority God places on preaching the Word. Paul insisted that God’s methodology is the “foolishness of the message preached” (1 Cor. 1:21). The preacher must proclaim the Word “not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor. 2:4). He further instructed Timothy to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2).
The Background of Preaching
The ancient world recognized the value of spoken words. Aristotle’s On Rhetoric provides insight into the importance of public speaking. He defined speaking in terms of the ethos (character) of the author, the pathos (emotion) of the author, and the logos (content) of the message. Aristotle argued against the manipulation of an audience and concluded that the character of the author must come before either emotion or the content. All of these elements find emphasis in a class on preaching.
Classic education also emphasized the value of spoken words. Classic education typically divided itself into three categories (trivium): grammar, logic, and rhetoric. This form of education is actually finding a rebirth in some school curricula. The New Testament church found itself in the cultural backdrop of these educational emphases in the first century.