Exegesis by opinion poll 19

Perry Noble is going through a series of posts where he describes how he prepares his sermons–in case you ever wanted to preach like Perry.

It took a while for Scripture to enter the conversation, but it made a cameo appearance yesterday as a subpoint under his main point about being creative.

After acknowledging that “correct theology must drive our methodology,” he describes a methodology that is about as theologically driven as my dog’s breakfast.

I bring others into a meeting to discuss the scripture passage because there are people at different stages of life that will see scripture through a different lens.

You would be amazed at some of the conversations that take place in some of our meetings for example I will bring in women who point out, “You know what Perry, that is the fourth sports illustration you’ve used this week. It’s not really connecting us.” Or…I’ll bring in singles and ask how they believe this passage applies to where they are in life.

In fact…I will bring in people that may be different on some minor theological issues that I would happen to think of because I want to take an all-around view of scripture.

This, perhaps, explains why he couldn’t decide whether he was pre- or post-millennial for his end-times series.

The Bible is to be read through the lens of Scripture, not that of whoever happens to be in the room with the pastor that morning. If different people see different things in the Bible, who is to decide which one is true, or which one is God’s word for the church that week? It’s a methodology that will produce unfaithful, weak, man-centered and inconsistent preaching.

How should it be done? The Westminster Confession gives us useful advice.

The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. (WC I.IX)

Truth through focused study, not focus groups.

19 thoughts on “Exegesis by opinion poll

  1. tara Oct 8, 2009 10:10 am

    wow. there are no words…i cannot believe someone would use this “method” to ready himself to “proclaim God’s word” each week. i dont, in fact, think that is what he does. I think he talks about Perry. a lot. and yes, i’ve listened to several sermons. it is NOT about an illustration or “where you are at in your life”. it’s about what God is saying, through his infallible Word.

  2. sam Oct 8, 2009 10:36 am

    From part 1 of his sermon prep series:


    “and by the way…the person who claims to be completely original in their communication and vision has a problem with lying!!!”

    I thought PN and Furtick have always said that they get their “vision” straight from God.

  3. James Duncan Oct 8, 2009 11:11 am

    Vision from God. Words from Warren.

  4. JT Oct 8, 2009 12:58 pm

    >>Duncan: “It took a while for Scripture to enter the conversation, but it made a cameo appearance yesterday as a subpoint under his main point about being creative.”

    Here’s the first of the seven sermon preparation steps that he wrote about this week (which you conveniently forgot about):

    “1. Get a word from the Word.”

    And what happened to everyone criticizing Noble for not taking advice from anyone? Now you all are upset that he is asking for others’ interpretations of scripture?

  5. Paul Oct 8, 2009 1:08 pm

    what Noble may be doing is exegeting his people so to speak. ok…i’m fine with that. a wise pastor should. i probably would not approach it the way he does, but ok…whatever.

    i read the post. i still see very little about exegesis of the text…both in prepartion and delivery.

  6. James Duncan Oct 8, 2009 6:01 pm

    JT, Read that section again. There’s no Bible in there. It’s all about what Jesus is saying to Perry’s heart.

    Even if you do read the Bible into that section, note that this isn’t his primary source for sermon prep.

  7. JT Oct 8, 2009 8:19 pm


    Is it that “there’s no Bible in there,” or is it that you’d rather interpret it that way to make your point?

    You’re right, he didn’t use the word Bible in the post. But when he talks about his “quiet time,” or his “personal time with God,” he is much more Southern Baptist than Thomas Merton.

    • James Duncan Oct 8, 2009 8:42 pm

      How else should it be interpreted? In any case, he says that he doesn’t use this quiet time for sermon prep, but has a note book in case he feels his heart moved.

      It seems fairly obvious to me that the Word in this case is Jesus. In PN’s quiet time, Jesus speaks to Perry’s heart.

  8. Corner Coffee Oct 8, 2009 10:52 pm

    His quiet time is spent in the Word. He did a series on his blog a while back, documenting some of what he was learning from the Word in his quiet time.

    The overflow of that quiet time is where his messages come from.

    1. He has his quiet time, and gets burdens for sermons during that time.
    2. He sometimes gets ideas for sermons from other leaders.
    3. He prepares.
    4. He consults others for more ideas to make the sermon penetrate a little better.
    5. He does all this well in advance.

    He very likely (without pounding his chest about it) does most of the biblical research during #3.

    But I guess when you assume the worst from someone, everything is evidence of foul play. Does Noble ever do something right? You wouldn’t think so from reading this blog.

  9. James Duncan Oct 8, 2009 11:06 pm

    Assume the worst, CC? I think we agree on your timeline.

    Perry’s primary use of Scripture in his sermon prep, which we both agree occurs in step #3, is done by submitting it to his staff’s opinion. That’s the main point of this post, not what he does in his devotional time.

    If Scripture shows up the first step at all, it’s not central to his sermon prep.

  10. Corner Coffee Oct 8, 2009 11:53 pm

    Your latest comment is oozing with inaccuracies.

    1. Step #3 has nothing to do with submitting his sermon to his staff. that’s step #4. And their role is to help him with the organization and presentation.

    2. Your post was attempting to imply that his sermon process includes barely any scripture study. The evidence suggests otherwise.

    3. Scripture shows up in his quiet time, Step 1 (I showed that he spends time in the Word during his quiet time via the link)

    4. Scripture is surely present in the sermons from other pastors, Step 2.

    5. Scripture is presumably present in his personal prep time, Step 3, otherwise he’d have nothing to bring to Step 4.

    6. Step 4 begins with the scripture (as you point out), then his sermon ideas/notes. Once the content is complete, it needs organization and illustration. He evidently has people who help him with this process. Big deal.

    But I guess we should crucify him because he only used the word “scripture” once.

  11. James Duncan Oct 9, 2009 12:48 am

    I might have hoped the word or its synonyms might have appeared a bit more often and prominently.

  12. JT Oct 9, 2009 7:47 am

    I’m not sure how it can be more prominent than:

    “1. Get a word from the Word.”

    • James Duncan Oct 9, 2009 8:33 am

      It’s possible that that could mean Scripture, but based on his general approach to receiving revelation and vision from God (using Perry as a lens to interpret Perry), I assume “the Word” here means Jesus.

      In the context of this section (devotions, prayer), I think it’s the most likely interpretation.

  13. Corner Coffee Oct 9, 2009 10:33 am

    As I pointed out, Perry has made it clear that his quiet time is spent in the Word, as well as in prayer. For you to continue to assume the opposite reflects on you, not on him.

  14. Scott Oct 9, 2009 11:04 am

    I am confussed with Perry Nobles advise. Yesterday he twitted “Scripture actually defines the Gospel…not the emerging needs of our culture”. In his blog today, he starts off by saying
    “Pay attention to culture” and “This should go without saying but what people are talking about should be important to us”.
    He does go on to say that scripture is relevant and has addressed the issue. Is he or is he not paying attention to culture?

  15. Corner Coffee Oct 9, 2009 12:13 pm

    “Pay(ing) attention to culture” and letting it define the Gospel are two different things. Is that REALLY that hard to understand?

  16. JT Oct 9, 2009 1:06 pm

    It is if you have an ax to grind.

  17. Scott Oct 9, 2009 2:26 pm

    No ax to grind, just have a hard time when church becomes more cultural than spritual. If a Pastor is preparing for a sermon, I am not sure paying attention to culture leads to worship. Worship should show the recognition of the worthiness of God that He deserves.

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