13 Aug 2008

Reading the Bible Redemptively

Submitted by Paul Brown

I've been listening to a series of lectures by Bryan Chapell on Christ-centered preaching (the last four lectures here or here). These lectures come in the homiletics series at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis and exhort the students to preach redemptive messages from any text of Scripture. While the concepts are intended to be applied to preaching, I think the goal of connecting the text to God's redemptive plan applies just as equally to every believer whenever we read and interpret Scripture. Here are some of the questions that we need to ask as we read Scripture, and especially as we teach it:

  1. What does this teach me about God?
  2. What does this teach me about myself and mankind?
  3. What is the problem underlying or being addressed in the text?
  4. Where does the text stand in relation to Christ and redemptive history? (Prefiguring, preparing, explaining/revealing, or reflecting/working out implications)
  5. What grace principles are evident?
  6. How does this motivate me to love God?
  7. How does this empower me to live as God intends?

Last night I started what I hope will be an ongoing practice of working through these questions as I read my Bible in the evening. I want to develop the habit of seeing texts in their context in redemptive history, finding their connection to Jesus, and discerning the grace principles that move me to a greater love for God, which in turn motivates greater obedience.

For additional reference, Dr. Chapell has written a book called Christ-Centered Preaching in which I think he explains this method in more detail. Graeme Goldsworthy also has a book on the topic of redemptive preaching called Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture.


Those are some really good questions. I will confess I quite frequently wonder what exactly I'm supposed to get out of a particular passage. I think that set of questions will help.