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Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture – A Poem About Preaching

preacherFor more vitrio-verse on "preaching" check out this hymn.

And here is a poem to encapsulate all that's worst about show-pulpitry...


“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture,” he loudly proclaims
“Our rule and our guide, Our fount and our frame.
We stand on the bible, for better, for worse
But let me give vent to my own bluster first.”

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, so let me digress –
To warn you of others who do not confess
Our creed guaranteed to produce a revival:
We are the ones who honour the bible.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, though some shun our scheme
Daring to preach on one verse, or a theme!
I really must warn you about all our rivals,
And then I will ask you to take up your bibles.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, and so I rehearse
Our constant insistence on verse by verse.
Methodical, logical, slowly proceeding,
This is our system, now, what was our reading?

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, but don’t be naive,
The troubles with preaching you would not believe.
We must invest time in Corinthian Gnostics,
The value of genre and Hebrew acrostics.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, a difficult book,
But do not despair for to me you can look.
The dirty great chasm between then and now
Is bridg’d by my painstaking, expert know-how.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, The clock is against us!
I fear that I shan’t do this passage its justice.
We’ve only got time for a mere  bible dip,
Yet before we explore – a joke and a quip.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, but first let me quote
From Shakespeare and Churchill, a drole anecdote,
My children’s exploits and the signs of the times,
The state of the church, and, my, how time flies!

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, just time for essentials,
But, wait, have I listed my many credentials?
My friends in high places, the people I meet,
The man I converted in the aeroplane seat?

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, although it’s a drag
I’ll lighten the tone with a mother-in-law gag.
And stories I’ve stolen from preachers at will.
Consider it sugar to sweeten the pill.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, though sixty six books –
This story of glory’s more plain than it looks.
Distilling its filling through splendid oration,
You’ll see it boils down to this fine illustration.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, the detail’s not vital,
I’ve spent all my time on a memorable title
And quaint turns of phrase that will please only me,
And predictable points, beginning with ‘P’.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, my time is now through,
My pithy summation will just have to do.
You guessed it the moment my sermon began:
God is the Boss. Submit to His plan.

“Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, And now let us pray,
‘I thank You my Father You made me this way,
Not like all those others about whom we’ve heard
For I am the preacher who honours Your word.’”


4 thoughts on “Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture – A Poem About Preaching

  1. Brian Midmore

    Might not the problem be that many evangelical churches have become overly intellectualised. We meet with God with our minds. Therefore preaching becomes supremely important and potential an idol. In more catholic churches we can meet with God in the sacrament; in charismatic churches the Spirit can bypass the mind eg in tongues. Is'nt finding a better balance a possible answer?

  2. Bill

    My own evangelical background was perhaps more emotionally driven, with devotion to Jesus as the big central thing. I do miss that in more conservative churches who give us lots of lectures that sound like they are read out of commentaries. So, Brian, I think that focussing on Jesus from the heart rather than getting lost in intellectual arguments has got to be a good thing. Having said all that it was very exciting to me to see Jesus fills the whole of the Bible right down to the smallest detail. I once feared that a more intellectual approach might lose Jesus but now I feel that the more we think and study the more we should see Jesus. Maybe this is an old fashioned view but it has been good for me.

  3. John B

    Tis Scripture, Tis Scripture, hermeneutics to please.
    We use any of them. We carry all keys.
    Philology, psychology, philosophy, too.
    We mold them and shape them to taste, just for you.

  4. Glen

    Hi Brian and Bill - it's interesting that we associate preaching with intellectual and intellectual with spiritually arid. We all make those associations but I'd like to hope that they're not necessarily equivalent! We can preach through the mind to the heart and I hope that this is a powerful and spiritual means of grace. But I agree that sometimes the pulpit becomes the occasion for a lecture - hence the poem!

    Very good John :)

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