Reflections from Myanmar #2: Proof-text Preaching

I finished my first day of class at Myanmar Bible Institute. I have 10 Master’s level students in the class. There are three local preachers who are auditing, and there has usually been one or two of the MBI professors sitting in. It has been very fun for me. The class is actually participating with questions and feedback, which is pretty unusual in these circumstances.

Today, we had a good discussion on “proof-text” preaching. At its worst, this is where a preacher comes up with a thematic sermon and finds a text to support all of his points. It does not treat the Bible with the respect and dignity it deserves, but uses it like a dictionary of unrelated verse-entries. At the break, two of the MBI professors who were sitting in asked me to talk about this some more, because they said it is the prevalent method in the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in Myanmar. I’m not sure I can make a difference here, but I hope I can influence them to work through a single text and mine it for all the meaning it has before immediately turning to “supporting texts” which may come from an entirely different context. I don’t know if I can make much of a difference, but if I can get the 10 future preachers to buy into a more expository method, that will be a start.

I’m posting from an internet cafe because the wifi at my hotel has not worked for two days. Sound like home for some reason. 🙂

Mark Krause


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