SIDEBAR: Before You Crack Open the Commentaries--Preaching by the

Spend time meditating on God’s Word, reading the text over and over again.

Learn how to talk to your Bible. When you read a text, ask, “What is the point?” Then ask, “Where are the pictures and how do both fit together?” Ask questions of the principal characters. Ask questions of the bystanders who saw it happening. Ask about the setting. Ponder the weather, the time of day, the proximity of the setting, the tone of the voice and anything else helping you to see the written text as a thriving, living account of life.

Look at the Bible as a big picture book. The Bible is an illustrated book, using imagery to reveal God’s truth. Bible words are often picture words. After reading a passage and clearly understanding its original intent, ask yourself, What does that look like? Hold on to those images. They can become the foundation of an engaging and descriptive sermon.

Look at the world around you. Seeing the world around you helps you see God’s truth. Read the Bible and the newspaper with your eyes wide open. Ask yourself how the events and the sights of the day expound or express the text. If you ask God to reveal himself, He will use the Word to come alongside your daily experiences and speak into your life. If you pay attention to those opportunities, discernment and perception will facilitate your explanation of the text, even the most difficult passages.

DOUG GREEN, D.Min., Brea, California