I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail. - Abraham Maslow
Preaching is a dangerous task. There are many complexities that make it so. When preparing a sermon, there is a crucial question to ask yourself. Are you going OUT or IN? In other words, are you reading the meaning of the scripture OUT of the original text (exegesis), or are you applying your own assumptions INTO the text (eisegesis)? Exegesis focuses on carefully studying what is in the text to discover the original and intended meaning. In contrast, eisegesis explores what is already on one’s mind through the text. The leading quotation points to this inherent temptation. A good preacher must find ways to invite the audience into a deeper understanding of scripture, and perhaps an examination of their beliefs and how they live. This must be done by tempering the content to ensure it does not alienate or drive anyone away. Simply being provocative is easy, but being provocative without actually provoking, offending, or estranging is both challenging and vital. And yet, preaching is necessary. Ideally, it is an ongoing point of connection as we explore God's word together. Hopefully, it invites us to begin conversations with one another about scripture, rather than serving as an endpoint. I will continue investing myself in the process and following the Spirit over my own beliefs. Perhaps you, too, will trust God to work through our collective experience of scripture.