One of the things I love about reading the Puritans is that I often get the sense they didn't just know Scripture, they knew me.
I wonder why it seems like today that's so often not the case...
We've definitely got preachers who at least try to understand the people they are talking to, but it seems like much of the time their perspectives are superficial, glib, or just borrowed from some psychologist.
And we've definitely got preachers who know the Scriptures, but sometimes it seems, honestly like they don't know many people. I wonder, in fact, if one reason so many professing Christians run to psychologists is because the psychologists actually seem to describe the way they work, while their pastor, though he is preaching Scripture, seems like he's living in a different world.
To really be an effective, God-honoring preacher it seems to me we have to exegete Scripture and we have to let Scripture exegete people.
If you try to preach to people without exegeting Scripture, you are going to end up superficial. If you try to preach the Scripture without exegeting people, you are going to end up missing the point.
As we study a passage, here are a couple questions I've found helpful for exegeting people. Perhaps you have others?
1.) What does this passage teach me about what people think, feel or do?
2.) About what people need?
3.) What problem does it address? How does that problem express itself in our lives today?
4.) What comfort is found in this passage? What does that comfort tell us about our real needs as people?
5.) What might be common objections to this text? How does my own heart object to the truth of this text?
6.) What are some specific ways people live contrary to what this passage teaches? Are there biblical examples?
7.) What are some specific ways people have applied this passage successfully?