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Homiletics is an inherently diverse and yet highly synthetic discipline. This is a poorly veiled way of saying that homiletics borrows from and benefits from a great many disciplines, theological and otherwise, in addition to having its own particular history, as well as dedicated theoretical and theological bases. This is the challenge – both curse and blessing – for preachers, teachers, and librarians. In thinking about writing this essay, I looked through numerous publishers’ catalogs to see what might be of potential interest to preachers and/ or teachers of preachers.

Nearly every book I saw in these catalogs could be of real and practical benefit to that collection of people. Without straining too much, areas directly related to preaching come to mind: the scriptures, gender-related issues, rhetoric (both classical and modern), church history, patristic theology, systematic theology, theologies of preaching, humor, use of literature in preaching, preaching the different literary forms of the Bible, postmodernism, post-liberalism, preaching at rites and other “special occasions” (funerals, weddings, baptism, and other rites, feast days, etc.), preaching for money (a.k.a. stewardship), ethics, storytelling, homiletic methods and structures, liturgics, contemporary culture, multicultural preaching (preaching with assemblies consisting of people from multiple cultures), cross-cultural preaching (preaching with cultures other than one’s own), sermon collections, influence and use of media and technology, and world religions. Then there are the many separate disciplines whose paths run in similar or parallel trajectories: literary theories, communication theories, culture studies, etc. All of this is further textured by the theological framework or jurisdiction within which one operates, that is, the ideological and ecclesiological lenses that are in play. Finally, books cluster around various topics: some old, some new, some ongoing. Topics often emerge, then disappear only to reemerge a generation or a century later. As one example, there is the perpetually recurring question of whether preaching can properly be described as persuasion or only as proclamation. This debate has been ongoing since the time of Augustine. It heats up and then cools off for a time only to heat up yet one more time. My responsibilities as a preacher and as a teacher of preachers circumscribe to a certain degree the sorts of materials I hope a library would acquire. Further, my particular interest lies with preaching as a form of communication. This includes rhetorical principles, methods of homiletic structure, and impact of media on culture. Other Homiletics professors have come to the field via scripture, systematic theology, and liturgics. This will obviously influence the sorts of suggestions an individual Homiletics professor might make regarding acquisitions. Yet, while having specialties, Homiletics professors, because of the very rich nature of the discipline, are required to be generalists as well.


The Holy Spirit’s work in relation to preaching is one issue that is oftentimes misunderstood today. In the broad sense, the misunderstanding ranges from the total neglect to the extreme view of the Spirit’s involvement in the preaching ministry. On the one hand are preachers that undermine the work of the Holy Spirit. They believe that preaching is basically a human effort that can be effectively accomplished by diligent study and preparation coupled with eloquence and charisma in the actual delivery of the message. On the other hand are those who “overstretch” the Spirit’s role in preaching. They believe that if they simply pray, the Holy Spirit will give them the text to preach a “spirit-filled” and “anointed” sermon. They are convinced that the Holy Spirit gives them “new revelations” every time they stand behind the pulpit. Others consider today’s “tongue-speaking” and “prophesying” as the active work of the Holy Spirit. Considering all these, indeed, there is a lot of confusion on this issue. While the Holy Spirit plays an active role in the ministry of preaching, it is very important to have a clear biblical perspective about His role so that we may not end up in utter ignorance or in extreme excesses on the matter. In this article, we shall briefly consider the Holy Spirit’s work in relation to the preacher, his sermon preparation, and the actual proclamation or preaching of the Word.

The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Life of the Preacher This particular aspect of the Spirit’s work is more of a partnership with the preacher. I say partnership, as it requires the preacher’s sensitivity and willful yielding to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is manifested in the preacher’s conscious “walking in the Spirit” and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). To be effective in his ministry, the preacher must live a spirit-filled life; one that is set apart and separated from sin unto God. The preacher that is not totally yielded to the Spirit and dabbles with the work of the flesh will not be able to fully discern the Word. He would even be prone to make inaccurate interpretations and applications because his heart and mind PREACHING The Holy Spirit & Reggor B. Galarpe Bible Witness 17 Preach the Word are not in harmony with the Spirit. Carnality and other sins hinder the preacher’s ability to understand and progress in the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Unless the preacher lives his life under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, he will not be effective and will have no moral authority in his preaching. Worst of all, he could even become the greatest stumbling block behind the pulpit. The Holy Spirit in the Preparation of the Message The Holy Spirit makes Himself available to help the preacher in his sermon preparation (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). He guides the preacher into all truth. John 16:13 - “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” And He enables the preacher to understand the truth. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:12; “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” One important aspect of the Spirit’s work is illumination. It is the Spirit’s work on the heart and mind of believers that enables them not only to discern the truth but also to receive and apply it. In his sermon preparation, the preacher is aided by the Spirit in his study of a passage. Accompanied by the prayers and diligent study of the text (and other relevant passages), utilizing the principles of interpretation,



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