How to Create a Teaching/Preaching Outline That Reflects the Message of the Text

We read in Ezra 7:10 that Ezra “set his heart to seek the Torah of Yahweh, to practice it, and to teach His statues and ordinances in Israel.” As teachers and preachers, our goal is to “seek” to understand the message God has placed in the biblical text and then to teach His truth and the relevant application to His people. The following are suggestions on how to create an outline of the biblical text which reflects the message which the Spirit of God placed there for us. We are creating a textual, expository outline, not a topical outline which is often used to “proof text” the thoughts and ideas
of the preacher rather than the divinely imbedded message.

How to Flourish as a Student: Practical Study Suggestions

The following suggestions are based on my seven-year experience as a seminary student. They are written particularly for seminary students, but may be more broadly application for students enrolled in other programs of higher education.

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Running with David

The Columbia Classic was a 15 kilometer race which follows the historic Columbia River Highway from the Women’s Forum viewpoint to the foot of Oregon’s famous Multnomah Falls. I ran the race with my son, David, many years ago. Although the Columbia Classic is no more, memories of that race linger with me. It was an experience that marked my life . . . and the life of my son.

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Reflections on the Land of Israel

Several years ago I had the privilege of taking a dozen Western Seminary students to Israel to participate in three-week study program at Jerusalem University College. We had a wonderful experience of touring the land, visiting the biblical sites, and learning about the geography, history, and culture of the biblical world. Having taking many students to Israel over the last ten years, I am convinced that a study program in Israel is one of the
best investments a Christian can make to prepare for studying and teaching the Bible.

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Factors in a Successful Marriage

What are the ingredients of a successful and lasting marriage? Just as the right ingredients in your favorite dessert is the key to a taste dish, so having the right ingredients is essential to a successful marriage. Here are a few of the factors that will make a marriage strong and lasting.

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The Role of the Law

I once heard a sermon titled, “The Two Ways of Salvation.” The first way presented was the way of the law.  It was suggested that in order to get to heaven, you have to be righteous.  The question was raised, “How are you doing in terms of keeping the law?”  Are you good enough to go to heaven?  The preacher then presented the other way of salvation–the way of grace.  He said that if you weren’t good enough to get to heaven by keeping the law, you could get to heaven by receiving God’s grace. While the sermon was intended to encourage people to accept God’s gift of salvation through grace, it reflected a serious misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the Law as revealed through the Hebrew Scriptures.

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May a Divorced Person Remarry?

The History of the Issue

All the church fathers except one (Ambrosiaster) agreed that remarriage after divorce, whatever the cause, constitutes adultery.  Even in the case of adultery, the faithful spouse did not have permission to remarry.  This remained the standard in the church until the 16th century when Erasmus suggested that the “innocent” spouse not only had a right to divorce an unfaithful spouse, but could also contract a new marriage.  This view was
accepted by the Reformers and is the standard Protestant evangelical position on divorce and remarriage today. But is this viewpoint consistent with Scripture. There are a number of important questions that must be answered to arrive at a biblical teaching on marriage and divorce.

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God’s Plan Through the Ages

In his article, “Getting the Big Picture: How we can know the Bible  and not just Bible trivia,” (Christianity Today, April 18, 1986, pp. 12 13), Dr. Richard Foster, associate professor of theology at Friends University, states: “Today a form of illiteracy abounds that is especially dangerous precisely because it is unrecognized.  It is particularly prevalent among those of us who read the Bible  regularly, memorize verses, and are committed to the authority of Scripture. I am referring to our biblical and historical myopia–or nearsightedness.  We lack a world view, a vision of the whole.”

Foster goes on to point out that the problem of biblical myopia is especially acute in our Sunday schools.  As we teach Bible stories, we often tack on little morals.  But that is what they remain: Bible stories with little morals.  He is concerned that “we may never explain how the pieces all fit together, giving a sense of the great flow of holy history.”  Seldom are believers
presented a picture of God’s all encompassing plan for the ages.

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