Preaching the burden of the text

Today I had the honor to sit in on a preaching conference featuring Mike Bullmore, a former homiletics professor and now pastor. The following point really struck me:

“Preaching is less a treatise on the material of your text and more a communication of the burden of the text. Preaching is not coverage of biblical material, it’s the accomplishment of a biblical intention. A good expository sermon is one whose content and intent is controlled by the content and intent of a passage. You cannot just be satisfied with the content, you must accomplish what God was trying to accomplish in the preaching. The end of preaching is not information, it’s persuasion. Your sermon’s purpose needs to find itself completely in line with the purpose and burden of the text. This will give your sermons unity, focus, and effectiveness.”

Mike Bullmore, message “Some Things I’m Learning About Preaching After Having Taught It For 15 Years” (2/12/08; Gaithersburg, MD).

7 thoughts on “Preaching the burden of the text

  1. “Preaching is not coverage of biblical material, it’s the accomplishment of a biblical intention.”

    That quote should be on a plague in every pastors office, or perhaps even etched onto their desk.

    Blessings, Josh

  2. All scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for correction, doctrine, reproof, and instruction in righteousness.
    I honestly believe that this simple principle has been forgotten by many churches, even many inside the reformed faith. Doctrine is of no use if it has no use.

  3. This quote reminds me of the Puritan ideal in preaching, namely that the sermon should not only be directed at the understanding but also at the affections. Richard Baxter explains: “As man is not so prone to live according to the truth he knows except it do deeply affect him, so neither doth his soul enjoy its sweetness, except speculation do pass to affection. The understanding is not the whole soul, and therefore cannot do the whole work… The understanding must take in truths, and prepare them for the will, and it must receive them and commend them to the affections;… the affections are, as it were, the bottom of the soul.”

  4. Thank you Mike for giving us your undivided attention. Just like a father should. In return, I will give you mine every Sunday morning.

    With total gratitude,

    Sherill Roediger

  5. Great quote. I remember working through Jay Adams’ book ‘preaching with purpose’ several years ago. He makes the same point. It has influenced my preaching profoundly. “What you must do [as a preacher] is work to make [the Holy Spirit’s purpose in scripture] your own”.”Whenever preachers depart from the purpose and intent of a biblical portion they lose their authority to preach”!!!!

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