Copy of reply to Nichael Cramer
When in the NT I use a basic approach to prep. that includes a
translation of the pericope and an abridged structural analysis.
Then I move to the more mundane word studies, commentaries etc.
However, I have come to terms with the fact that pastoral life in
general is not conducive to completing research projects so I aim at
producing an outline or having at least a clear impression on where I
am going by Friday evening. Sunday AM early is a good time for
polishing up outlines!
Needless to say, with a name like "Thunder Swamp" I am not pastoring
in a world-class city. None of my people are ready for Greek
classes, truth is I lack sufficient facility in the discipline and
my ability probably wouldn't lend itself to teaching the course.
However, I have conducted some extension classes in various NT
studies and this has given me an outlet beyond the church for
exercising skills that tend to go rusty without use.
I make it firm practice to "hide" my research as much
as possible in favour of communicating what I firmly hold to be the
truth or sound interpretation of a given passage. I conscientiously
avoid, wherever possible, phrases like, "The original Greek says,"
or "The Greek word for ***** is...." I simply say something like,
"This phrase means," or "The author intends for us to understand
******* by this word." That way I avoid some of the things
mentioned by you. I do find that the folks sometimes cannot
conceive of what on earth I do all morning in my office! I don't
think it is worth trying to explain.
I do conduct a traditional Sunday hour class during Sunday School,
and unashamedly wallow the mud of sound exegesis and technical
matters of all kinds. However, even here, to keep the interest of
the class, I continually find application for the lessons and allow
generous time and latitude for discussion. The class has been a
terrific success among the younger adults, especially the
professionals (there are some of those even in rural NC).
To be successful in the pulpit it is my conviction that I must know
what the Word of God says, that it must be fresh to me in order to be
preached with conviction to others and that I must be challenged and
changed by it first. My efforts may have not had the impact I had
wished on every occasion but it has kept my personal ministry fresh.
Thanks for showing interest!
By the way, with a greeting like "Cheers," do I detect a UK or
Australian influence. I personally hail from Bristol, England.
Paul F. Evans
Thunder Swamp P. H. Church
(Endeavouring to make use of NT Greek in a real live ministry!)