Thursday, July 17, 2014



John Piper writes about speculation in bible study. He says it may be interesting, but unhelpful:
My point is that people need solid food, not possible food. They need a sure word from God, not a guess from man. They need a biblical “Thus says the Lord,” not a “Maybe God said.”

A fascinating five-minute homiletic detour into what might have been going in Corinth behind this or that text is a waste of precious time. And I think it trains our people to expect interludes of historical entertainment, and to mistake it for deep insight and spiritual food.

What is really there in the text of Scripture is bottomless, and staggeringly interesting, and provocative. Speculation is not necessary to hold people’s attention. If a pastor finds what might have been more interesting than what is really there in the text, he needs better powers of observation, not better powers of speculation. He needs a better feel for the wonder of what is, than a greater fancy for what might have been.
And I think it depends on the audience. The pastor, for example, needed to do the historical research and speculation to help him interpret the scripture in proper context. But the pastors roles is to develop others that can do the same thing, so it may not always be appropriate to not mention ones reasoning.

For example, when you teach physics in high school you make the students memorize equations and use them. When you teach physics is college, you teach the students how you arrived at the equations to begin with. In high school they do not know calculus, in college they do. That's the difference. Thusly, in a worship service you may not want to take the historical detour, but you may indeed want to do so in a Sunday School class.

But does anybody think about Sunday School anymore?


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