environment of serene concentration. It is use-
less to attempt to read a biblical text if all we are
looking for are quick, easy and immediate results.
Preparation for preaching requires love. We only
devote periods of quiet time to the things or the
people whom we love; and here we are speaking
of the God whom we love, a God who wishes
to speak to us. Because of this love, we can take
as much time as we need, like every true disci-
ple: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening”
1 Sam
147. First of all, we need to be sure that we
understand the meaning of the words we read.
I want to insist here on something which may
seem obvious, but which is not always taken into
account: the biblical text which we study is two
or three thousand years old; its language is very
different from that which we speak today. Even
if we think we understand the words translated
into our own language, this does not mean that
we correctly understand what the sacred author
wished to say. The different tools provided by
literary analysis are well known: attention to
words which are repeated or emphasized, recog-
nition of the structure and specific movement of
a text, consideration of the role played by the dif-
ferent characters, and so forth. But our own aim
is not to understand every little detail of a text;
our most important goal is to discover its prin-
cipal message, the message which gives structure
and unity to the text. If the preacher does not
make this effort, his preaching will quite likely
1...,106,107,108,109,110,111,112,113,114,115 117,118,119,120,121,122,123,124,125,126,...224
Powered by FlippingBook