Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for the ‘Preaching’ Category

New Preaching Commentary by Jim Hamilton

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I first met Jim Hamilton three years ago in 2009 in an attempt to convince him to be the preaching pastor at my church, Kenwood Baptist. He was intrigued and agreed to come preach for two Sundays and pray about it. Which text did he preach on as a candidate for pastor? Revelation 9 for the first and Revelation 10 for the second. Although skeptical at first (I say that with a smile), I was blessed afterward.

When we called him as pastor a month later he preached through the entire book of Revelation in a little over a year. The sermons are outstanding and you can find them on Kenwood’s website here. He has preached through four more books since that time (Titus, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mark, and now Jeremiah), but the sermons on Revelation are favorites of mine.

The sermons are now in manuscript form and part of the Preaching the Word commentary series. Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches is Jim’s newest book, and I’m thankful for the copy I have in my hands. Jim sets Revelation in a biblical theological context, combining exegetical precision with pastoral sensitivity. I’m grateful for his efforts in this regard. Jim communicates in a way that sticks, so to speak. I never left the pew on Sunday without having grasped both the meaning of the text in context and the need to “do” and apply. Jim is unique in this way. After all, who else do you know who would preach on the Seven Angels and Seven Plagues (Rev 15) on Christmas!

I want to encourage readers to get a copy of this commentary, and you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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Written by Josh Philpot

January 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Reflections on Seminary part 3

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Year three marked one of the more satisfying years academically. After going through a year of Hebrew language study I took my first exegesis class with Dr. Peter Gentry. His influence on my understanding of the Old Testament and my love of the biblical languages far outweighs any other. It was during this class (Exegesis of Isaiah) that I made conscious decision to study the OT to a greater degree, with the hope of resurrecting the OT in preaching and teaching in the church. It has been my observation that most church members, young and old, limit their own understanding of the OT to the Psalms and Proverbs, with a splattering of the great stories of Abraham, Moses, and David (just take a look at many of our Bibles: the NT with Psalms and Proverbs). Rarely does one find a pastor preaching through a book of the OT on Sunday mornings. Additionally, the influence of John MacArthur (whom I love and admire) has somehow convinced many pastors in reformed circles that the church is only to be taught from the NT, and that the OT is limited to illustrative purposes. This was, and is, not satisfying to me. As I understand the task, pastors are to preach the whole counsel of God. The church cannot and must not limit themselves to being practical Marcionites. God has made himself known in his Word, and for all our battling to preserve the authority and inspiration of the Bible, we must act and preach like the whole of it, and not individual parts, is worth the battle. Pastors are never called to preach only the New Covenant (as some might say). Pastors are called to preach the Word.

This leads me to further recommendations. First, do not wait until your final year of seminary to begin Hebrew and Greek. Most seminarians start off with Greek but avoid Hebrew like a plague. In fact, there is a common notion among seminarians that it is unwise to take Hebrew and Greek in the same semester. While there are certain factors that may prohibit this (e.g. full-time job), it is not insurmountable. The earlier you can take the biblical languages the better. Then, as you progress, you can continue to take exegesis courses to improve your skills, and by the end of seminary you should have a good grasp on both languages. Second, study in small spurts and not big chunks. For instance, if it’s Monday and you have a Hebrew vocabulary test on Thursday, don’t wait until Wednesday to begin and don’t work on all 50 vocab words at a time. Rather, divide the words into groups of 10 and put them in your pocket. As you walk to class, sit at lunch, wait for an appointment, etc., get the cards out and go through them a few times. Our brain is more inclined to remember these things if they come in doses, and not all at once. Most of us, including myself, can’t remember everything at first glance. Therefore, help yourself out by studying throughout a day instead of all at once. Third, don’t be content to spend all of your time working on vocabulary and syntax only to lose everything you’ve worked on in a year or so. Continue to work on these things periodically. It will be well worth your effort.

Back to my third year: things changed dramatically for me at Kenwood during this time as well. In December of 2007 our preaching pastor left the church to take a professorship in a different state. The following week our other associate pastor, whom everyone assumed would take the preaching role, was called to military duty, also out of state. This left me for the care of the church. I began preaching every Sunday morning and teaching every Sunday and Wednesday evenings. While the responsibilities were difficult to maintain as a full-time student, and while there were certainly bumps in the road involving church members, I loved the work and grew as a Christian.

One of the best things that happened to Jenn and I this year was catching up with fellow Liberty grads who were at Southern. I had no idea that so many of us were in one place! Noah and Brandy Lee, Asa Hart, Brad Swartz, Randall and Bethany Breland, and Andy Miller have all been great friends that have challenged and loved both of us during this time. Additionally, Michael Naak (not from LU) and I grew very close as we met each week for accountability and encouragement. He was, and is, an extremely good friend who graciously supported me during many tough months at Kenwood, prodding me to continue to persevere and preach the Gospel, even when it might be offensive to some.

Here are some pictures from year three – a reenactment of our engagement in Cincinnati (2nd anniversay), Naak bowling, the LU guys and gals, New Attitude conference with my in-laws (now called “Next“), a big snow storm, and my parents trying on some hats at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe:

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Written by Josh Philpot

May 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary – Joyce G. Baldwin (TOTC)

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imageDBThis is an insightful and perceptive commentary that I completed this morning. Baldwin, now deceased, shows great exegetical skill as she expounds on one of the more interpretively difficult books in the OT. She is conservative in her approach, rightfully noting that the biblical and extra-biblical evidence supports the historical Daniel as the author, and that the historical personalities, dates and prophecies within the book are true. Additionally, Baldwin holds to a high view of Scripture and of God’s sovereign purpose and control of all of history, which is a needed refresher in light of the monumental but critical commentary of Collins (Hermeneia), and even Goldingay (WBC, who regards chapters 1-6 as allegorical). Although short and not completely exhaustive, I would highly recommend this commentary, especially for pastors. For me, it has been a great introduction to the subject matter of Daniel before my upcoming Ph.D. seminar on the book this fall.

Baldwin’s analysis of Daniel is as follows:

PART I: STORIES

I. Prologue: The Setting (1:1-21)
II. The Nations and the Most High God (2:1-7:28)
A. Nebuchadrezzar dreams of four kingdoms and of God’s kingdom (2:1-49)
B. Nebuchadrezzar the tyrant sees God’s servants rescued (3:1-30)
C. Judgment on Nebuchadrezzar (4:1-37)
C1. Judgment on Belshazzar (5:1-31)
B1. Darius the Mede sees Daniel rescued (6:1-28)

PART II: VISIONS

A1. Daniel has a vision of four kingdoms and of God’s kingdom (7:1-28)

III. The Second and Third Kingdoms Identified (8:1-27)
IV. Daniel’s Prayer and the Vision of the Seventy “Weeks” (9:1-27)
V. Vision of the Heavenly Messenger and His Final Revelation (10:1-12:13)

Here is a nice juicy quote concerning the hard text of Daniel 11, pp. 184-85:

“With regard to prophecy as foretelling, the church has lost its nerve. An earthbound, rationalistic humanism has so invaded Christian thinking as to tinge with faint ridicule all claims to see in the Bible anything more than the vaguest references to future events. Human thought, enthroned, has judged a chapter such as Daniel 11 to be history written after the event, whereas God enthroned, the one who was present at the beginning of time and will be present when time is no more, may surely claim with justification to ‘announce of old the things to come’ (Is. 44:7).”

Written by Josh Philpot

May 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm

What is preaching?

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First, watch this and be motivated, concerned, and energized for your task as a preacher (at least give it 6 minutes and 48 seconds):


Second, I’m surprised that Piper has a suit other than the usual plaid jacket/blue shirt/flowery-tie thing he always wears.

Third, I truly believe that John Piper is the greatest preacher of our day.

Written by Josh Philpot

May 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Preaching

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Sidney Greidanus’ “Christocentric Method” for Preaching the OT

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I found this quote from the blog at Reformed Reader helpful in thinking about preaching Christ in all of Scripture. Many pastors, young and old, continue to do a disservice to the OT text by bludgeoning Christ upon every jot and tittle.To those who make it their practice to do so, I think these wise words from Sidney Greidanus are instructive:

The christocentric method complements the theocentric method of interpreting the Old Testament by seeking to do justice to the fact that God’s story of bringing his kingdom on earth is centered in Christ: Christ the center of redemptive history, Christ the center of the Scriptures.  In preaching any part of Scripture, one must understand its message in the light of that center, Jesus Christ.

It should be clear by now that our concern is not to preach Christ to the exclusion of the “whole counsel of God” but rather to view the whole counsel of God, with all its teachings, laws, prophecies, and visions, in the light of Jesus Christ.  At the same time, it should be evident that we must not read the incarnate Christ back into the Old Testament text, which would be eisegesis, but that we should look for legitimate ways of preaching Christ from the Old Testament in the context of the New.

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, pgs. 227-28.

A solid reminder that while we must not allegorize Christ all over the OT, as though we could make him explicitly mentioned in every verse, we must recognize that every verse providentially exists where it is as part of a canonical Bible that centers around God’s redeeming work in none other than Christ himself.  Thus to preach a given verse as though it had nothing to do with Christ and his finished work is to misunderstand the OT as Christian Scripture.

Written by Josh Philpot

April 5, 2009 at 11:27 am