How to Approach the Text

I love to think about this quote from William Willimon:

I have been told that the great Old Testament scholar Gerhard Von Rad attended a small church in his native Germany- a small church with a young pastor who was not noted for his skill or his preaching. When asked why he kept returning to the church, Von Rad responded that, despite the pastor’s inadequacies, he had one great strength. When he read the Bible on Sunday, he always approached Scripture ‘as if he were opening a package that contained a ticking bomb.’

I hope that is how I approach the text every time I preach. And I hope that this attitude is evident so that my people will approach it in the same way.

This is from Willimon’s book Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry. Can’t remember where I first saw it referenced.


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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