The Holy Spirit | Contours of Christian Theology | Sinclair Ferguson

In “The Holy Spirit”, Sinclair B. Ferguson argues that many in the church have a faulty misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit, who has become like the “black sheep” of the trinity (15). The tendency in the church as been to see Him as a distant, impersonal energy rather than the third person of the Godhead (15-17). The purpose of Ferguson’s book is to help clarify a proper biblical understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and what He does. Ferguson attempts to “trace the revelation of the Spirit’s identity and work in a biblio-theological and redemptive-historical manner” (12).


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Saving Eutychus

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Gary Miller and Phil Campbell’s book “Saving Eutychus: How to preach God’s word and keep people awake”  “God doesn’t use people because they are gifted. He uses people (even preachers) because he is gracious. Do we actually believe that? If we do believe it, then we will pray- we will pray before we speak, and we will pray for others before they speak.” (ch 1, pg. 21) “The aim of this book is to help us all preach in a way that is faithful to Scripture without being dull” (ch 2, pg. 26) “When you listen to someone explain the Bible, what do you want to get out of it? I want to know God has addressed me through his word. I want to be challenged, humbled, corrected, excited, moved, strengthened, overawed, shaped, stretched and propelled out into the world as a different person. I want to be changed!” (Ch 2, pg. 27) “The key to preaching… is to make the message of the text obvious. Help people see it and feel it. Help people to understand the text” (ch 2, pg. 29) “Where God is explaining something, we need to help people understand. Where God is warning us, we need people to feel the urgency and weight of that. Where God is wooing us, we need to help people feel the pull of his love. Where God is correcting us, we need to show people that they are going the wrong way and to help them get back on track. Where God is comforting his people, we want people to feel the security and warmth of his comfort.” (ch 2, pg. 30-31) “The word of God has the power to stir up love and obedience and sustain commitment year after year in every generation.” (ch 2, pg. 35) “our preaching will only change hearts if the Bible itself controls and defines the message we preach.” (ch 2, pg 38) Top ten tips for being clearer 1. The more you say, the less people will remember 2. Make the ‘big idea’ shape everything you say 3. Choose the shortest, most ordinary words you can 4. User shorter sentences 5. Forget everything your English teacher taught you 6. Am I repeating myself? 7. Words per minute versus ideas per minute 8. Translate narratives into the present tense 9. People lover to hear about people 10. Work towards your key text (ch 3, pg. 50-61) “Stephen Langton sliced the Bible into chapters in the 12th century, and Robert Estienne added verse markers in 1551 on a horse ride from Paris to Lyons. Some think the horse would have done better.” (ch 4, pg. 65) “noticing repeated words or phrases is the most common and most obvious way of finding the big idea of a passage… The big idea of a passage most often emerges when you spot the repetitions in the text and follow the chain of logic between them.” (ch 4, pg. 67) Four practical tips for getting practical 1. Apply in light of the gospel 2. Apply what the passage is really saying 3. Unflinching application. Say what you mean, without being mean in what you say 4. Application last and first. The applications comes at the end of your research, but it comes first as you design and build your sermon. (ch 4, pg. 70-75) “If we believe that God, through the Spirit, changes people through Bible teaching, and that teaching the Bible clearly and well is the primary responsibility of pastor/teachers, and that ministry is essentially about word ministry, then all that adds a further layer of intensity to conversations about why the sermon isn’t, or wasn’t, up to par.” (ch 7, pg. 112) “To miss the point of the passage because we have decided that what we want to say is more important than what God has to say is sinful” (ch 7, pg. 116) “Remember that feeding the people of God matters much more than your ego.” (ch 7, pg. 117) “Those of us who are married do have to find some way of working out the unique circumstances of being ‘one flesh’ with one of the people to whom we regularly teach the Bible. One person who is listening each Sunday has far more invested in (and is more affected by) our preaching than anyone else.” (ch 7, pg. 119)

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