And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews, and Greeks. (Acts 19:8-10)
Preaching Is Persuasive Arguing
Preachers come in different shapes, sizes, and dispositions. The Old Testament prophets were a mixture of personalities ranging from Isaiah and Daniel’s stately presence to the rough and harsh world of Amos. Jesus selected twelve men who could not have been more different from one another and in stark contrast to the teachers of their day. The style of the apostle Paul was not like Philip or Peter and especially not as the orator, Apollos. One of the essential commonalities of the New Testament preachers is found in the preaching they engaged. By his own admission, Paul was not a man of stellar presence when it came to his preaching. His focus was on preaching Christ and Him crucified. Nothing else mattered to Paul, and he devoted his life to preaching the risen Christ. What distinguished his preaching was the manner of his presentation.
When Paul went into the synagogues of the Jews, he preached a bold message. He was not there to preach the words of men or try to impress others with his style. The synagogue was a hostile place to preach the message of the Messiah who died on a Roman cross. The word of God fortified Paul’s boldness. His style was to reason and persuade his hearers to understand the gospel of Christ. In fact, the preaching of Paul was persuasive arguing. Like Peter on the day of Pentecost, he did not hesitate to show Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. The kingdom of God was preached before all those who would hear him without reservation. It was not a time to tell stories, engage the audience with banter, or impress the crowds with entertainment and fanfare. Paul came to preach. He came to argue in a manner that would convict men to repent and turn to God.
Preaching is about discussing the word of the Lord and engaging in conversations designed to change the heart. So much of preaching today is more about the “feel good, health and wealth” philosophies of men allowing the audience to enjoy a moment of spiritual euphoria with little or no lasting impact on life. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. Deep faith is built upon a foundation of sound doctrinal teaching that storms the soul with the ‘dunamis’ or power of God. The message must argue against vain doctrines and teachings of men. Preaching must convict, reprove and move the heart to action. Paul reasoned and daily discussed the merits of divine grace in the school of Tyrannus because the gospel was about finding the pearl of great price. Knowledge comes from digging for the truth.
The character of preaching is three-fold. There must be a message and someone to hear the message, and the transmission of that message must be clear. Preaching is not hard. When a man preaches God’s word, he does not have to find knowledge because that knowledge has been once delivered to all the world to understand. He should never hesitate to preach the whole counsel of God. Preaching anything less is not preaching. Paul spoke boldly; he reasoned and persuaded and daily argued the word as the word of God and not men. All who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus because the preacher they listened to preached the word.