Posted by: reformbama | May 27, 2009

Preaching With Precision…

Please excuse the weird characters, the Hebrew text did not import correctly.

Studying the Passage with Accuracy and Care
William D. Barrick
Professor of Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary
How does the preacher commence his preparation for expounding God’s Word on any given Sunday? How can he study his text with accuracy and care, so that he preaches with precision?
No preacher can begin too soon to prepare his message for Sunday. He should take enough time to saturate himself with the text and to apply the text in his own life before stepping into the
pulpit. Rushing into exposition produces shallowness, irrelevance, and hypocrisy—not power nor precision.
Preliminaries—Before Commencing Exegesis
Unless the heart and mind are right with God, there is no way that the expositor can be right with the text.
We are, in a certain sense, our own tools, and therefore must keep ourselves in
order. If I want to preach the gospel, I can only use my own voice; therefore I must train my vocal powers. I can only think with my own brains, and feel with my own heart, and therefore I must educate my intellectual and emotional faculties. I can only weep and agonise for souls in my own renewed nature, therefore must I watchfully maintain the tenderness which was in Christ Jesus. It will be in vain for me to stock my library, or organize societies, or project schemes, if I neglect the culture of myself; for books, and agencies, and systems, are only remotely the instruments of my holy calling; my own spirit, soul, and body, are my nearest machinery for sacred service; my spiritual faculties, and my inner life, are my battle axe and weapons of war.1
Since preaching without prayer is presumption, pray with the psalmists:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in
Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Ps 19:14, NKJV).
“Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law” (Ps 119:18,
Exegesis starts with the text and views it within its syntactical, lexical, literary, historical, social/cultural, geographical, and theological contexts. Although exegesis of the biblical text focuses upon the languages, the language factor is not the only factor the expositor must consider.
Everyday life in Bible times differed greatly from our present day Western culture. In biblical times, culture changed from one century to another, from one people to another, and from one environment to another—just as it changes within our own setting.

We must give attention to identifying the separate context for each passage. So much is unfamiliar to the modern, Western
1 C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (reprint; Grand Rapids: Associated Publishers and Authors,
Inc., n.d.), 1–2.
reader: clothing, food, the medium of exchange, local customs, religious observances, and dialects. How did these factors affect the meaning for both writer and recipient? This is the exegete’s (and, the expositor’s) challenge.
Resist the temptation to merely catalogue, collate, and arrange information. Exegesis consists of more than the collection and filing of data—it focuses on interpreting information gleaned from the biblical text itself. Anyone with a photocopy machine, scissors, and rubber cement can copy, cut, arrange, and paste quotations from sources and references. An exegete examines,
evaluates, assimilates, and interacts with the biblical text in a coherent interpretative exposition employing only the most pertinent citations. In addition, the expositor must synthesize the interpretation and its theological and pragmatic implications. When the preacher’s sermon preparation reflects this approach, he has attained a significant goal in his ministry: he has become an exegete and an expositor of the Word of God.
Exegetical Procedure
The following seven steps represent one potential approach to the biblical text designed to produce a full examination of the language, context, and background with a view to exposition.
For a sample text, I will employ Psalm 89 to help illustrate the steps all the way through to application (or, as some prefer, the text’s implications), as well as sermon proposition and outline.
1. Read/Translate
Read and reread the text until saturated with it—not just the sermon passage, but the entire book that forms its setting. If you know the biblical language, perform a provisional or preliminary translation of the sermon text. Diligently compare the original language with a literal translation such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB) or New American Standard Update (NAU), New King James Version (NKJV), English Standard Version (ESV), or Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Note any translational variations from the original language.
See Appendix I: Psalm 89 (NAU) arranged to highlight parallelism, repetitions, and key concepts.
Compose a preliminary summary statement for what the passage says. What did the text mean to the original recipients? Describe briefly what the text talks about.
Psalm 89: God made permanent covenant promises of loyal love and faithfulness to
David and his descendants. Circumstances indicated the apparent dissolution of the
Davidic monarchy contrary to those promises, leaving the psalmist confused and
2. Observe
Ask questions about anything and everything in the text. What information does it give?
Who?—list all persons in the text and identify the key players. What?—list all actions, objects, and conditions. Move on to the adverbial questions: When?—establish the historical context for the text. Where?—identify the geographical setting(s). How?—specify the manner in which the subjects take action. Why?—look for reasons (“because/for”), purposes (“in order that”), and results (“so that”). Pay attention to details—be a Sherlock Holmes!
Record any question that comes to mind—even if it might turn out to be a “dumb” one upon further reflection. Determine to discover the basis for any textual variant followed by the translation or suggested in the margins of the translation. Remember: no translation is perfect.
Who?—The psalmist, Ethan the Ezrahite, may be either a Levite (1 Chron 6:42 or
44; 15:17–19) or a wise man of Judah (1 Kgs 4:31). See Psalm 88:heading.
When?/Why?—In order to account for the lament in verses 38–45, commentators have proposed several situations:
􀀹Division of the united kingdom in the reign of King Rehoboam (1 Kgs 12).
􀀹Death of King Josiah at Megiddo (2 Kgs 23:28–30).
􀀹End of the monarchy when Jehoiachin went into exile (2 Kgs 24:8–16).
Obtain a sense of the passage’s overall tone. Like Psalm 88, Psalm 89 ends without
closure to the problems causing the psalmist’s lament. “Closure has its liabilities.
The subject matter tends to become purely historical and is no longer the living
matter of ongoing life. Closure can be like the sealing of a tomb which signifies the
acceptance of death and the giving up of life. . . . In the long run, however, their
dissonance may be a greater source of strength and comfort. Strength is not built on
easy stories with happy endings.”2
Revise your preliminary summary statement. What did the text mean to the original
recipients? Start developing your descriptive summary statement toward a theological and prescriptive summary.
Psalm 89: God does not lie in His promises which He grants to David and to his
descendants—I can believe God. The psalmist expresses his feelings openly regarding what the dissolution of the Davidic dynasty implies to the people of Israel and to her enemies—I can be honest with God.
3. Identify
Analyze the text word by word and phrase by phrase. For many pastors with limited biblical language skills, good commentaries and various language tools provide a great deal of information for grammatical, literary, and lexical analysis (word studies). Read as many of the better exegetical commentaries as possible. Keep an accurate record of every element that has potential exegetical and expository significance—observe how commentators explain the significance of each element of the text.
“Then” (NKJV), “Once” (NAU, HCSB) and “Of old” (ESV) are all legitimate
translations of za’ (a*z). It opens a major section of Psalm 89:19–29 [Heb 20–30].
Psalm 89:38–45 [Heb 39–46] contain the great contradiction. A disjunctive clause
(waw-conjunction + non-verb) sets up the contrast at the start of verse 38 [Heb 39]:
“But You.” Confirming the break, “Selah” closes the preceding verse and section
(v. 37 [Heb 38]). The psalmist thus transitions to complaint and lament. Piling up
one verb after another, the psalmist describes what appears to be divine indifference to His covenant promises (“cast off and rejected” [v. 38, Heb 39]; “spurned . .  profaned” [v. 39, Heb 40].
The following are the most reliable commentary series:
Baker Commentary on the Old Testament
Baker Exegetical Commentary
Expositor’s Bible Commentary
New American Commentary
New International Commentary on the Old Testament
2 Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 51–100, Word Biblical Commentary 20 (Dallas: Word Books, 1990), 430.
New International Commentary on the New Testament
NIV Application Commentary
Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries
An excellent series does not guarantee that each volume treats the text in the same way or with consistency interpretatively. Keep in mind that some independent commentaries are superior to those within a series. Read book reviews and talk with other expositors about the volumes they have found most helpful. When looking at a commentary prior to purchase, look at how it handles a text with which you are most familiar exegetically.
3.1 Grammar and syntax.
3.1.1 To what does each word, phrase, clause, sentence, and paragraph relate? in
what way? for what purpose? Diagramming (either grammatical diagramming
for NT or logical block diagramming for OT and NT) can be a valuable aid for
understanding the text’s structure.
OT: Andersen, Francis I., and A. Dean Forbes. The Hebrew Bible: Andersen-
Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software,
NT: Rogers, Cleon L., Jr., and Cleon L. Rogers III. The New Linguistic and
Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
Psalm 89:2 [Heb 3], `~h,(b’ ^åt.n”Wma/ !kiÞT’ Ÿ~yIm;¦v’ (v*m^y!m T*k!n
a$mWn*t+k* b*h#m): The initial position of “heavens” in the second line
is an example of a nominative absolute followed up by a resumptive
pronominal suffix at the end of the line (literally, “in them”). This
construction helps to focus on “heavens,” a key reference in this psalm in
which the heavens confirm the permanency of the Lord’s covenant with
David. It could be translated: “As for the heavens, You established Your
faithfulness in them.”
3.1.2 Where is the prominence or emphasis? Pay attention to word order and the
employment of emphatic words.
Psalm 89:9–12 [Heb 10–13], hT’a; (a^T>): The psalmist employs the
personal pronoun (2ms, “You”) five times in these four verses. Only the
first use was required by the grammar (the subject of a participle)—the
remaining four are emphatic subjects of their respective verbs. The
antecedent is the LORD. The LORD and the LORD alone performs these
actions as the ruling sovereign of all creation.
Prepare an exegetical outline that reflects the major divisions of the text. This
might not be your actual sermon outline, although the divisions should be the
I. Covenantal Praise (Ps 89:1–18)
A. Preparatory Words from the Psalmist (vv. 1–4)
B. Praise-filled Words for the LORD (vv. 5–18)
II. Covenantal Promises (Ps 89:19–37)
A. Promises to David (vv. 19–29)
B. Promises to David’s Descendants (vv. 30–37)
III. Covenantal Problems (Ps 89:38–51)
A. Complaints (vv. 38–45)
B. Questions (vv. 46–51)
IV. Doxology to Book 3 (Ps 89:52)
3.2 Expression.
3.2.1 What idioms does the author employ? What do those idioms mean? What did
the original recipients understand by them?
Psalm 89:43 [Heb 44], “the edge of his sword”: Literally, the Hebrew
reads “the stone of his sword” (AB=r>x; rWcå [xWr j^rBo]). It is possible
that the figure originated with the flint that formed the blade of a knife.3
Psalm 89:48 [Heb 49], “his soul” (Avßp.n: [n^pvo]): Too often we think of
the “soul” as something a person possesses. The Hebrew concept,
however, is that it represents what a person is, not what he or she has. It
represents a person’s essential being with all of his or her “emotions,
passions, drives, appetites.”4
3.2.2 What is the literary form (type of literature)? Some refer to the literary form as the genre. Is the text narrative or poetry? Is it a national history or personal history? Is it law?—case law or direct commandment? Is it prophecy or
wisdom? Is it lament or praise? Is it an epistle or a gospel? Is it a parable?
Psalm 89 begins with a hymn of praise (vv. 1–37 [Heb 2–38]), but turns to
a community lament or complaint (vv. 38–51 [Heb 39–52]).
􀀹“ . . . one must decide whether it is descriptive praise or declarative
praise by the emphasis of the contents. Is the psalm more general,
stressing the attributes of God? Then it is descriptive. Is it more
specific, focusing on the acts of God? Then it is declarative.”5
“Descriptive praise of God is generally timeless and can be used by
any true worshiper. Declarative praise can be used by those in the
psalmist’s situation or in a similar situation.”6
􀀹“An honest turning to God in times of disappointment and grief—even
in anger and confusion—turns sadness into singing.”7
3 Ibid., 411–12.
4 Bruce K. Waltke, “vp,n<,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols., ed. by R. Laird
Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 2:589.
5 Kenneth L. Barker, “Praise,” in Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the Literary
Genres of the Old Testament, ed. by D. Brent Sandy and Ronald L. Giese, Jr. (Nashville: Broadman &
Holman, 1995), 223.
6 Ibid., 227–28.
7 Tremper Longman III, “Lament,” in Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the
Literary Genres of the Old Testament, ed. by D. Brent Sandy and Ronald L. Giese, Jr. (Nashville:
Broadman & Holman, 1995), 213.
OT: Sandy, D. Brent, and Ronald L. Giese, Jr., eds. Cracking Old Testament
Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the Literary Genres of the Old Testament.
Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995.
3.2.3 What literary devices (repetition, parallelism, inclusio, chiasmus, assonance,
paronomasia, etc.) are employed? What are the shifts or pivots in the passage?
Is dialogue present? How is it employed to tell the story?
OT: Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry. Collegeville, MN:
Liturgical Press.
Psalm 89:6 [Heb 7]: A chiasmus occurs as follows:
A qx;V;b;â ymiä
B hw”+hyl; %roå[]y:
B’ hw”©hyl÷ ; hm,îd>yI
A’ `~yliae ynEïb.Bi
A who in the skies
B is comparable to the LORD?
B’ is like the LORD?
A’ who among the sons
of the mighty
The focal point of the verse consists of the central elements of the
chiasmus. The idea is that God is incomparable. Other chiasms occur in
verses 20, 22, 23, 30, 31, 32, 33, 44 (Heb 21, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 34, 45)—
note the cluster in verses 30–33 (Heb 31–34).
Repetition: Both “lovingkindness” (ds,x,ñ [j#s#d] = “steadfast love” or
“loyal love”) and “faithfulness” (hn”Wma/ [a$mWn>]) occur 7 times each in
Psalm 89. In addition, “forever” occurs 7 times in NAU (not counting the
non-covenantal use in v. 46). Ethan hangs everything upon this concept.
See other phrases conveying the same thought in verses 4b, 29b, 36b, and
37a. Does “forever” mean “forever”?
3.2.4 Perform a word study for each word crucial to the text. Keep in mind that many
words have no great “golden nugget” of expositional truth outside their usage
within the text’s proposition.
Obvious candidates would include “lovingkindness” (ds,x,ñ [j#s#d] =
“steadfast love” or “loyal love”8) and “faithfulness” (hn”Wma/ [a$mWn>]),9
as well as “forever” (at least ~l’A[ [uol*m]).
8 See D. A. Baer and R. P. Gordon, “dsx,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament
Theology & Exegesis, 5 vols., ed. by Willem A. VanGemeren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 2:211–18.
9 See Jack B. Scott, “a$mWn>,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols., ed. by R. Laird
Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 1:52.
Valuable tools for word studies include:
OT: VanGemeren, Willem A., ed. New International Dictionary of Old
Testament Theology & Exegesis. 5 volumes. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1997.
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, eds.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 2 volumes.
Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.
NT: Brown, Colin, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament
Theology. 4 volumes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.
Kittel, Gerhard, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary
of the New Testament. Abridged edition. Translated by Geoffrey
W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985. (“Little Kittel”).
3.25 State the argument and/or the development of the theme in your own words.
The Lord remained faithful to His covenant promises to David and his
descendants regardless of the seemingly contradictory circumstances that
had fallen upon the Davidic dynasty.
4. Examine
At this stage the expositor goes back to reading and rereading the text. Read the immediate context and the remote context; read ancient near eastern reference works providing information about the text. Stick with what the text says.
4.1 Examine the circles of context to determine how the passage fits into each one
(immediate context, remote context, and external setting). The ancient near eastern cultural, historical, geographical, political, economic, and spiritual milieu comprises the external setting for your text. Context holds the key to the meaning of a text on all levels (grammatical and literary). Context relates both to the literary aspects and to background (historical, cultural, and geographical).
Psalm 89’s background is a covenant—the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:8–16
and 1 Chron 17:7–14; cp. 2 Sam 23:5; 2 Chron 13:5; 21:7; Isa 55:3; Jer
Davidic/Messianic psalms play significant roles at the seams of the Psalter:
􀀹Psalm 2 opens Book I (Pss 1–41) following Psalm 1’s commencement of
the Psalter itself. Psalm 72 concludes Book II (Pss 42–72). Psalm 89
concludes Book III (Pss 73–89).
􀀹Psalm 89:38–51 laments the effective dismantling of “the Davidic
Covenant—breached by God—and acknowledges the monarchy’s
dissolution . . . Book 4, the ‘editorial center’ of the Psalter, responds to
this crisis by shifting the focus from the earthly king’s reign to God’s
everlasting rule.”10
10 William P. Brown, Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor (Louisville: Westminster John
Knox, 2002), 17.
Compare Psalms 73, 74, and 88: “Book III seems to deal over and over with
the bafflement of believers who are struggling with the gap between promise
and reality.”11
Ethan’s reference to the shortness of his life (89:46–48 [Heb 47–49]) harks
back to a similar reference in Psalm 39:5. However, the real significance
involves the fact that the very next psalm (Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses, the
oldest psalm in the Psalter) picks up that same theme in verses 5–6 and 9–10.
Geography: Although some commentators see all four directions (NSWE) in
verse 12—indicating the whole land of Israel, the order could be chiastic: N
(north) – S (south) – S (Tabor) – N (Hermon). Is this an indication that the
psalmist is from the region of Galilee?
“Firstborn” (Ps 89:27 [Heb 28]) also describes Israel’s elevated
relationship to the Most High God (Exod 4:22; Jer 31:9). NT writers apply
this title to Christ (Heb 1:5–6; Rev 1:5).
In the NT, one must also observe Luke 1:30–33, which ties Jesus to the
Davidic Covenant.
Use sources for general background information: The MacArthur Study Bible, Bible
handbooks, OT and NT surveys and introductions, and commentary introductions to
the Bible book involved. Refer to Bible atlases, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias,
Bible background commentaries, histories (OT, NT, and era-specific histories), and
OT: Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas. The IVP
Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL:
InterVarsity Press, 2000.
NT: Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New
Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
4.2 Examine parallel passages and identify both the similarities and dissimilarities in all areas (especially related to steps 2–7, above).
Parallel passages for Psalm 89 include 2 Samuel 7:8–16; 1 Chronicles 17:7–14;
Psalms 2; 72; 110; and Jeremiah 33:19–26.
5. Solve
List all potential solutions for the significant interpretative problems encountered. Choose one as the preferred solution and compare its adequacy with all other potential solutions.
Some commentators interpret and translate Psalm 89:18 [Heb 19] as a reference to God Himself by applying a rare, if not questionable, meaning for a Hebrew
preposition (l [l])—an emphatic “indeed is the Holy One.” It is better, however, to
take this verse as a reference to the Davidic king (cp. Pss 47:9 [same Hebrew
preposition]; 84:9).
In Psalm 89:19 [Heb 20] the Hebrew word ^yd<ªysix]l;( (l^j&s’d#yk*; “Your godly ones,” NAU) is related to ds,x,ñ (j#s#d) and is the same as the word used for Hasidic Jews (Hasidim). “Godly ones” (NAU) = “faithful people” (NIV) = “loyal ones”
11 Tate, Psalms 51–100, 429.
(HCSB). Unfortunately, some translations miss the meaning and the grammatical
plural: “holy one” (NKJV) and “godly one” (ESV).
In Psalm 89:25 [Heb 26] “the sea” and “the rivers” might refer to the prophetic
pronouncements of the OT that the Davidic kingdom will stretch from the Red Sea or the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (see Pss 72:8; 80:11; cp. Gen 15:18;  Exod 23:31; Deut 1:7; Josh 1:4). Rather than limiting the reference to the future land of Israel, some interpreters believe that the reference to the sea and the rivers “is a metaphorical portrayal of the same truth as given in Psalm 2, namely his dominion extends over the whole world.”12
6. Consult
Check the commentaries for their interpretation. Watch for alternative interpretations and note any additional problems which you failed to note during your own study. Emphasize research in conservative commentaries as much as possible, but realize that theologically liberal commentaries can offer a lot of sound material with regard to the original language and its use.
Utilize this final pass through the commentaries to discover how the commentators make the transition from the original audience to today’s readers and hearers. Watch for key doctrinal summaries and applications.
6.1 How does the present audience differ from the original recipients of the text?
Our audience lives under the authority of the NT as well as that of the OT.
What differences might exist between the OT believer’s relationship to the text and the NT believer’s relationship to the text?
Psalm 89:
􀀹OT believers lived under the human Davidic dynasty, awaiting the coming
greater Son of David.
􀀹NT believers live after the revelation of the greater Son of David, the Messiah.
He still has not taken the throne of David, however—He sits only in the throne
of His Father. We still await the coming kingdom when Messiah will reign over
Israel and the world from the throne of David.
OT in NT: G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, eds. Commentary on the New
Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker
Academic, 2007
6.2 What are the doctrinal teachings of the text?
Examine the passage theologically—looking for broad doctrinal issues or
Psalm 89:
􀀹Praise is always fitting in the mouths of God’s people (OT or NT) (vv. 1, 52).
􀀹God is faithful; He never lies, never breaks His promises (v. 2).
􀀹The Lord is incomparable—He has no equal (v. 6).
12 Willem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols., ed. by Frank E.
Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 5:580.
􀀹Angels serve and worship God in heaven (v. 7).
􀀹God is sovereign over all the world. He controls all of His creation (v. 9).
􀀹God is omnipotent (v. 13).
􀀹God’s people are specially blessed and experience supreme joy in His service
(v. 15).
􀀹By His divine favor, He bestows strength on His people (v. 17).
􀀹God sets up kings (v. 18).
􀀹God grants the promises of the Davidic Covenant to those descendants who
have a right relationship to Him (v. 19).
􀀹God does not condone sin and disobedience (vv. 30–32).
􀀹As long as sun and moon perform their appointed tasks, God confirms the
fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (vv 36–37).
􀀹Often there is a gap between promise and reality—normally due to human
sinfulness and disobedience (v. 38).
􀀹Absence of God’s immediate blessing does not mean that future blessing has
been annulled (v. 49).
6.3 How can you apply the teaching of the text to your audience?
Psalm 89 —
God never lies—He remains faithful even when we do not (cp. 2 Tim 2:13).
Therefore, I can believe Him, I can trust Him.
We, too, await the coming Davidic King for the final solution. OT saints
awaited His first advent; we await His second advent. Amen! Come, Lord
Jesus (Rev 22:20)!
Praising God’s timing is more fitting than complaining about His delays.
6.4 Compose your homiletic proposition and sermonic outline.
Psalm 89 —
Proposition: We must learn to trust God to remain faithful to His Word
regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves and our feeling
of apparent abandonment.
Homiletical Outline:
I. We must praise God for His Word and for His works (Ps 89:1–18).
A. We must personally participate in praising God on the basis of
what we learn in His Word (vv. 1–4).
B. We must join with other believers and even the angels to praise
the Lord for His faithfulness, His incomparability, His
omnipotence, His righteousness, His justice, and the blessings
He pours out on us (vv. 5–18).
II. We must recognize God’s specific plan for the line of David, because
it is the foundation for the work of Jesus Christ, in whom we place
our faith for our own salvation (Ps 89:19–37).
A. We must believe that God will fulfill His promises to David,
because God does not lie (vv. 19–29).
B. We must believe that God will fulfill His promises to David’s
descendants (including Jesus Christ, the greater Son of David),
because God’s Word is confirmed by the continued existence of
the sun and moon fulfilling their God-ordained roles (vv. 30–37).
III. We must trust God to fulfill His promises to us even when the
circumstances in which we might find ourselves seem to be the
antithesis of His promised blessings (Ps 89:38–51).
A. When we face great trials and are confused about our situation
in regard to God’s promises, we must be transparent with God in
our prayers, instead of bottling our discouragement up inside us
(vv. 38–45).
B. When we face spiritually troubling experiences, we must learn to
bring our questions to God in prayer and in searching His
revealed Word (vv. 46–51).
IV. Even in the midst of unresolved trials and doubts, we must praise
God and trust Him fully (Ps 89:52).
7. Evaluate
7.1 Be willing to modify and/or refine your conclusions. Keep a careful record of which source provides you with the impetus to modify or revise.
7.2 Acknowledge any uncertainties, ambiguities, lack of knowledge, and/or need for
additional information. Outline a method of conducting further investigation. Write
down all questions that you still have not been able to resolve to your satisfaction. To what source would you like to refer for future study? Which source(s) did you find most helpful.
7.3 Keep a file or log of all studies, sermon preparations, sermon notes and outlines, and sermon texts (if you write them out). Go through after preaching the sermon and debrief yourself, putting notes in the margins for future reference.
7.4 Keep a list of appropriate sermon illustrations that you have garnered from your
research. Keeping track of the sources for good illustrations can prove helpful at a later date. Although gathering illustrations was not an aim of the procedure described above,  even good exegetical commentaries sometimes contain outstanding illustrations.
Recommended Reading
Carter, Terry G., J. Scott Duvall, and J. Daniel Hays. Preaching God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Preparing, Developing, and Delivering the Sermon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.
MacArthur, John, Jr., and The Master’s Seminary Faculty. Rediscovering Expository Preaching: Balancing the Science and Art of Biblical Exposition. Nashville: W Publishing Group, 1992.
Sunukjian, Donald R. Invitation to Biblical Preaching: Proclaiming Truth with Clarity and Relevance. Invitation to Theological Studies Series. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007.
Old Testament
Broyles, Craig C., ed. Interpreting the Old Testament: A Guide for Exegesis. Grand Rapids:
Baker Academic, 2001.
Chisholm, Robert B., Jr. From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998.
Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament: A Guide for the Church.
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003.
Sandy, D. Brent, and Ronald L. Giese, Jr., eds. Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the Literary Genres of the Old Testament. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995.
New Testament
Liefeld, Walter L. New Testament Exposition: From Text to Sermon. Ministry Resources Library. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
Thomas, Robert L. Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2002.
———. Introduction to Exegesis. Sun Valley, CA: author, 1987.
Appendix I:
Psalm 89 (NAU) Arranged to Highlight Parallelism, Repetitions, and Key Concepts
89:1 A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever;
To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.
89:2 For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever;
In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.”
89:3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,
89:4 I will establish your seed forever
And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.
89:5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
89:6 For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,
89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?
89:8 O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
89:9 You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
89:10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain;
You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
89:11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.
89:12 The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.
89:13 You have a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty,
Your right hand is exalted.
89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
89:15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance.
89:16 In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.
89:17 For You are the glory of their strength,
And by Your favor our horn is exalted.
89:18 For our shield belongs to the LORD,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
89:19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones,
And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
89:20 “I have found David My servant;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
89:21 With whom My hand will be established;
My arm also will strengthen him.
89:22 “The enemy will not deceive him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
89:23 “But I shall crush his adversaries before him,
And strike those who hate him.
89:24 “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him,
And in My name his horn will be exalted.
89:25 “I shall also set his hand on the sea
And his right hand on the rivers.
89:26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
89:27 “I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
89:28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.
89:29 “So I will establish his descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.
89:30 “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
89:31 If they violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
89:32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.
89:33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
89:34 “My covenant I will not violate,
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.
89:35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.
89:36 “His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.
89:37 “It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah.
89:38 But You have cast off and rejected,
You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.
89:39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown in the dust.
89:40 You have broken down all his walls;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
89:41 All who pass along the way plunder him;
He has become a reproach to his neighbors.
89:42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
89:43 You also turn back the edge of his sword
And have not made him stand in battle.
89:44 You have made his splendor to cease
And cast his throne to the ground.
89:45 You have shortened the days of his youth;
You have covered him with shame. Selah.
89:46 How long, O LORD?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?
89:47 Remember what my span of life is;
For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!
89:48 What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.
89:49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord,
Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?
89:50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants;
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
89:51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
89:52 Blessed be the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen.


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