It is wonderful to see more and more churches empowering the pulpit and the people by being more and more committed to teaching through books in the bible.This focus and priority of text management is pivotal to developing healthy and ever maturing believers.
I love being part of the Rock Harbor teaching team who scrum down weekly, finding the key components as we wrestle our way through the intriguing book of James. With many of the teaching team being quite young, we are continually reminding ourselves of some of the essentials for accurate, yet Spirit empowered teaching. James is often poorly taught as a book of morals, ethics and marginal legalism. That is not the case. Here are some simple guidelines to effective verse administration:
1. Author: It is essential to know who the author is, as it does fashion the understanding of the text significantly - try to find the story behind the story.
2. Audience: In the same way, one does need to know who he is writing to, as it gives meaning to the angle of authorship as well as the use of metaphors, illustrations and OT references.
3. Phone: Every letter is written as a response - this could be to questions being asked or issues being faced. The cell phone analogy is helpful as we are only hearing one side of the conversation and this does have significant implications. Having only half of the conversation is an important matter we have to remind ourselves about.
4. God piece: Our eye has the tendency to look for the "I must do" piece first. This is not a good way to read the scripture. It is more important to see what the "God piece" is. As with James 3 the temptation is to rush off to my tongue management. But the God piece is "bless the Lord". Framing the chapter through worship does change the way we preach it.
5. Bookends: The front end and backend frame of the verses, enables us to put the text into context so we do not become guilty of butchering the true meaning.
6. Mirror: Finding a complimentary text elsewhere in scripture is very valuable to see how the apostles or prophets were teaching side by side.
7. Story: Find the narrative piece. Scripture is the God story, not a book of principles. Like Jesus we are to be teaching far more in a story format than "10 principles of anything" - that is not good bible management.
8. Pastoral prophecy: We do use good exegesis to understand and teach the text. Once we have been true to the meaning, we can then seek the application of the text in both a prophetic and pastoral way to truly minister to our people. Finding what God is saying to our congregation through this scripture now, is imperative to effective pastoral care. Simply give the Holy Spirit words to work with...
Hope this helps. Anything you want to add?