The other day, I realised that I'm over halfway through studying for my Old Testament paper here, and though I won't be examined on it until 2008, it's the only time I will study some large sections of the Old Testament during my course.
That was quite scary. In some respects, I've been learning a lot. Last week's very intensive study of and reading about Wisdom Literature, for example, really seemed to set me up for preaching it. I'd feel a lot less intimidated doing a 5-part series on Job, for example.
But on the other hand, I don't feel as if I've really been equipped to do much in terms of preaching Old Testament narrative, for example. I've spent quite a bit of time learning how to answer difficult questions and confronting some issues I'd put on the back burner for quite a while, but virtually no time on the nitty gritty of how to preach it. I've read some decent books preaching through OT narrative, and since saying this to some friends have had some good ones on how to preach the Old Testament recommended.
And then I went to church this morning. I'm still looking round churches in the morning, and I saw the one I usually go to in the evening had a sermon on 2 Kings 3 (well, i misread the termcard and thought it was 2 Kings 2, but same idea), so I went there. And this is where it gets encouraging.
I read the passage, and immediately a few things from my course popped into my head (if you must know, it was observing the probably ecstatic (bad word for it, but it's the normal one) nature of Elisha's experience in v15, and analysing the political relationship between the four kings involved in terms of the social-political situation in the area at the time. That's as well as various fairly obvious stuff in the passage
The sermon was pretty good, but it didn't really use anything I didn't know or any skills I didn't have (other than remembering to look for typology, which I sometimes forget to do). I thought "I could do this", which was very encouraging for me, coz I'm meant to be able to do that without much more training.
What was really encouraging for me was that some of the random stuff I'd noticed (the socio-political stuff, mostly) can be used to bolster the preacher's main point still further. So that's what I'm going to try and do in my next post...