Some Homiletical Maxims
Collected by Prof. Harry Buls
and found in his exegetical notes.
- Always dress the changeless Word and Gospel in attractive garb. That's what is meant in Matthew 13:51-52. Avoid stagnant repetition.
- Nothing keeps people with the church as does good preaching.
- Apply yourself entirely to the text. Than apply the entire things to yourself.
- Preach the Word. Keep at it whether convenient or not. 2 Timothy 4:2.
- Stand up briskly. Open your mouth. Quit soon.
- Do everything for people's growth. 1 Corinthians 14:26
- Avoid generic sermons.
- Good, prayerful exegetical study is the pastor's weekly refuge and the hearer's oasis.
- The New Testament lies in the Old concealed. The Old Testament lies in the New revealed.
- Three rules must be followed consciously for good preaching:
Scripture interprets Scripture.
The intended sense is singular.
Never exceed the point of comparison in simile, metaphor or parable.
- If you can't preach repentance, you can preach nothing.
- A child is entranced by a good story-teller. Let him be your model.
- A sermon should be as textual, as simple, as clear, and as logical as possible.
- What is grammatical in Scripture is theological and vice versa.
- The Christian is simultaneously a saint and a sinner.
- Faith alone justifies but faith is never alone.
- A Christian is a free agent, subject to none (Gospel). But a Christian is also a dutiful servant, subject to all (Law).
- Fifty years ago the composer of these Notes heard the sainted Dr. Theodore Engelder preach on the theme: "We Need Repent of our Shabby Repentance." It still lingers in the writer's memory. Good sermons stick.
- The post-communion prayer in the service includes: "Give us faith in Thee and fervent love toward one another." That says it all.
- God's law can only curb outburst of sin, show man his sin and guide the Christian in godly living. It cannot make people better, more spiritual or more godly. Only the Gospel can and does do that.
- Never waste peoples' time with sermons which neither warn nor comfort.
- When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said: "Repent ye" He meant that the whole life of the Christian should be one of repentance. (First of the 95 Theses in 1517)
- "Both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and the simple, I am a debtor to preach the Gospel." Romans 1:14.
- No seminary professor ever "produced" a good preacher. He merely led the student to the trough. The student himself under God's grace and from what he found at the trough is personally the preacher he is by God's grace and good, hard work. (Buls)