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Homiletic and Hermeneutic Exprimentation

Yup, I swallowed a dictionary this morning.  OK I didn't really.

Anyway.  This Sunday this is what will be happening in our service. We will be hearing the 2 Kings 19 passage of Elijah at Horeb and then the Matthew account of Jesus (and Peter) walking on water.  The people will be told to close their Bibles and try to identifiy any themes or ideas that connect the two passages.  After a couple of minutes thinking time, they will be invited to share - briefly their thoughts.  Once we've done that, I will move into the "sermon" (?) which will begin with Baptist declaration of Principle (naturally enough!) on liberty over interpretation and from there into some of the challenges of hermeneutics (interpretation) and discerning whether we hear God, received wisdom or culture in our Bible reading.  Lastly I'll share my thoughts from doing the exercise myself (albeit over somewhat lnger than 2 minutes, but without consulting commentaries this time around).  The hope is that it will encourage people to recognise that 'different' is not automatically 'wrong,' that the Bible isn't an easy book to interpret or understand and that communal hermeneutics and homiletics actually have some merit.

And as I leave straight after the service for three weeks off (yeay!) they have plenty of time to discuss my heresies before I return!

It is also a great excuse to sing one of my all time favourite hymns (below) alongside selected verses of 'K' from Rippon's collection and my recent discovery 'Open this book'


We limit not the truth of God

To our poor reach of mind

By notions of our day and sect,

Crude partial and confined

O let a new and brighter hope

Within our hearts be stirred:

The Lord has yet more light and truth

To break forth from his word.


Who dares to bind to their dull sense

The oracles of heaven?

For all the nations, tongues and climes,

And all the ages given?

That universe, how much unknown!

That ocean unexplored!

The Lord has yet more light and truth

To break forth from his word.


In faith our forbears boldly went

The first steps of the way;

It was the dawning, yet to grow

Into that perfect day.

And grow it shall, our glorious sun,

More fervid rays afford:

The Lord has yet more light and truth

To break forth from his word.


O Father, Son and Spirirt, send

Us increase from above;

Enlarge, expand all Christian souls

To comprehend your love:

And make us to go on to know

With nobler powers conferred:

The Lord has yet more light and truth

To break forth from his word.

George Rawson (public)

George Rawson


I learned this hymn (~30 years back) to the tune Ellacombe which can be found at 297 in BPW or in any good hymnbook! I don't know the set tune, and the metre identified in BPW (DCM) will not take you to Ellacombe (76 76 D), but trust me, it fits.


  • I will be very interested to hear what happens!

  • I think I've got some of the connections...

    Even Peter's faith wouldn't have helped him to walk on water on top of a mountain in the middle of a drought, but if Jesus had been there too he might have tried to pitch a tent for him, which would have been inappropriate because all the priests of Ba'al would probably have got cross about it. However, if Jesus had been on Mount Horeb with Elijah after the fire fell from heaven, we might have had some clearer ideas on whether Christian pacifism is an oxymoron or a tautology.

    On the other hand, if Elijah had been in the boat on Galilee with the disciples, would he have been less daunted than Peter by the wind and the waves or just really depressed that his prayer for no rain obviously hadn't been answered (we're watching the weather reports for our daughter's wedding on Saturday and glad we've got the kind loan of 20 white umbrellas, so that's kinda close to home! Is that a reader's response approach?)

    Does all this suggest that context is quite important - or does it simply illustrate the delicate relationship between the lectionary, canonical theology and a lack of sleep?

    Enjoy your three weeks elsewhere. We found the Baptist Holiday Apartments in Minehead to be very pleasantly located and the church here seems surprisingly intact despite the Jones family's absence!

  • Very nice.

  • I would like to say that i really like your site skinnyfairtradelatte.blogspirit.com a lot
    now.. back on topic hehe
    I cant say that i agree with what you wrote... care to explain more?

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