Preaching can be biblical without being balanced, without being biblically balanced. Biblical balance is extremely difficult to achieve because the preacher is so liable to imbalance. Factors which cause imbalance include:

  1. The preacher’s personality: happy or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, introvert or extrovert
  2. The preacher’s experience: the preaching he heard growing up, his conversion, professors, present trials
  3. The preacher’s models: the kind of preaching he is listening to
  4. The preacher’s preferences: academic, historical, practical, devotional
  5. The preacher’s gifts: may be very talented teacher but a poor evangelist
  6. The preacher’s fears: if I preach this then so-and-so will get mad, leave, etc.
  7. The preacher’s isolation: detached from the people, he becomes detached from real life.

A preacher is riding 18 see-saws all the time! He must balance between:

  • Old Testament and New Testament
  • Teaching Christians and evangelizing the unconverted
  • Young Christians and old Christians
  • Churched unbelievers and unchurched unbelievers
  • Old and young – different concerns and language
  • Conviction of sin and free offer of the Gospel, law and Gospel
  • Challenging the hypocrite and comforting the trembling believer
  • Narrative, doctrinal, practical, devotional parts of the Bible
  • The different persons of the Godhead
  • Ancient truths and modern life
  • Biblical illustration and modern illustration
  • Heaven and hell, promise and threat
  • Textual exposition and thematic teaching
  • Calm/quiet/slow and passionate/loud/urgent
  • Indicatives and imperatives
  • Helping to live now and preparing for eternity
  • Respecting tradition and reformation
  • God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility

How can you help the preacher achieve biblical balance?

1. Prayer: He has so many difficulties to overcome and so many balances to achieve.

2. Patience: Don’t judge him on one sermon but over a period of weeks and months. Sometimes he may have to be unbalanced to correct a problematic imbalance in the congregation.

3. Persuade: If imbalanced over the medium-to-long-term, try to gently and calmly persuade him.

  • Sean

    I’m a seminary student and aspiring preacher and was just thinking about this last night!

    So, you’ve given congregants advice; how about preachers?

    Thank you so much!

    • Tyler

      Brother, thank you for this. I’m struggling with imbalance in my preaching and fear that I come across negative more often than not. This is beginning to effect my congregation and I am trying to address the issue in my own heart. The church I serve is a typical SBC congregation that has lacked sound preaching for many years and is weak doctrinally in many ways. I am taking pains to be patient in my preaching and leadership but often discover that even then I am outpacing them. To be clear, I think that I am primarily the problem in my approach…I am discovering that I may be too hard or repetitive to the point where they feel I am hammering them with the truth. Some of the problem (very little of it) is due to the fact that they have never sat under any kind of expositional preaching. I would welcome any encouragement, correction, or counsel in this area.

    • David Murray

      Let me think about that, Sean.

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