Wisdom From Barclay

William, not Charles.

William Barclay is the author of the Daily Study Bible, a classic collection of New Testament commentaries. Though he writes from the perspective of mid-20th century neo-orthodoxy, his reflections on biblical passages often have singular insight.

So it was recently as I was studying up on Matthew 23 in preparation for a message. Here’s what Barclay says that caught my attention:

“The gravest danger which any teacher or preacher encounters is that he should erect his own prejudices into universal principles and substitute his own ideas for the truth of God.”

Making personal prejudices into universal principles. Man. I’m no doubt guilty of that.

Does my prejudice for Wesleyan-Arminian free will and my prejudice against Calvinism lead me to underemphasize the sovereignty of God? Probably.

Does my prejudice for modern worship style and my prejudice against traditional Methodist liturgy lead me to neglect some of the treasures of the faith? Certainly.

Does my prejudice for charismatic expression and my prejudice against cessationist theology lead me to bypass a more measured approach to what the Holy Spirit is doing today? Perhaps.

Does my prejudice for amillenialism and my prejudice against dispensationalsim lead my to overlook what Scripture says about a unique role for Israel in God’s future? Sometimes.

Those of us who preach, teach, and lead should ask these questions of ourselves with great frequency.

Thanks to Mr. Barclay, today is one of those days.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Mark Davis says:

    Haven’t been on your blog in ages. This one caught my eye. The problem is not to choose A or B because they both are right in many regards. The issue is the mindset of the Bible is Hebraic, not Greek. It is cyclical not linear. Its the same story retold with different actors and sets.

    Of course Israel plays a part because it has, does and will. It is God’s focus until heaven and earth pass. Scripture makes that clear. The issue is what is God doing in the world today and how do we align with His plan.

    • Talbot Davis Admin says:

      In terms of history that is cyclical & not linear, be sure to read “Crash Test Dummies,” my study of the Book Of Judges. One of the lines in the intro is that the ancient Hebrews told history “in patterns rather than with precision.”

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