In my early theological training, a critical issue was raised in terms of exegesis, or the ‘bringing out the meaning’ of Scripture. It concerned the perspicuity of the text. This is sometimes termed the hidden meaning of the story. To find it, requires a spiritual as much as an academic discipline. It is spiritually discerned process. The inspiration of the text was said to lie somewhat in the perspicuity.
I remember a friend of mine reflecting on the preaching by some of our Pentecostal friends. He summarised their efforts, respectfully I thought, as “annointed imaginings”.
Let’s bring these two thoughts together. When we look at the gospel pericopie (short unit of history) and seek to apply its meaning to an audience we face the challenge of bringing the text to life or animating its bare bones. It’s as if the black and white sketch or comic strip outline as recorded for our benefit by the gospel writers requires our best ‘animation’ to bring out its full meaning and relevance. As the speaker, I want the story to become a full colour cartoon if you like. The preacher is the animator of the story, as given by the inspired writer/redactor.
The more I have done this the more I realise the gospel of the Kingdom is a gospel for the poor. It comes out of poverty; it is targeted for those in poverty; and it brings hope and inspiration for those trapped in poverty.