Pastor Dale Van Dyke (Harvest OPC) preached a wonderful sermon on the cleansing of Naaman at yesterday’s PRTS chapel. Dale has preached at the chapel many times, often on Old Testament passages, and I’ve always been blessed. But yesterday was extra special. What a superb example of how to preach an expository gospel sermon from an Old Testament passage. Afterwards at the question time, I asked him to take us behind the scenes and describe the process he follows to make OT narratives come alive in such a vivid and memorable way.

First, he said that being brought up in a home without TV meant that he spent his childhood reading. He would read anything and everything and through that developed such a love of story that when he reads an OT narrative, the story just jumps off the page and starts filling his mind with tons of ideas and images.

Second, he said that he learned the importance of asking narratives the right questions and lots of them. These are not just “Who said what?” or “Who did what?” but “Why did this happen?” and even more importantly “Why did this not happen? and “Why did he not say this?” and so on.

Third, he said that he tried to delay theologizing until he got the full story. He explained that too many pastors move to theological questions (and practical application) too quickly and therefore end up missing key points and important details in the story. His advice was to spend far more time on getting the story right so that we don’t drain the drama from it by our anxiety to teach as much doctrine as we can.

And if you want to hear the sermon, it begins at about 6 mins in the video below.