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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Preaching (2)

PREACHING.—In the Gospels three Gr. words are used for preaching, viz. κηρύσσω, ‘proclaim as a herald,’ with the corresponding substantive κήρυγμα; καταγγέλλω, ‘announce,’ ‘declare’; εὐαγγελίζω, ‘tell good tidings,’ with the corresponding substantive εὐαγγέλιον, ‘good tidings.’ A fourth word, λαλέω, ‘talk,’ ‘discourse,’ is also rendered ‘preach’ in Mark 2:2 Authorized Version (as also in Acts 8:25; Acts 11:19; Acts 13:42; Acts 14:25; Acts 16:6); but in Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 this is rendered ‘speak’ (‘he spake the word unto them’). In a general way it may be said that preaching, as the proclamation of a message, was distinguished from teaching (διδαχή), the explanation and vindication of truth. In some cases this distinction is marked. Thus John the Baptist was emphatically a preacher, he came to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God; Jesus began where John left off by also preaching this message; and the Twelve were sent out to preach (κηρύσσειν, Mark 3:14, cf. Matthew 10:7, Luke 9:2). The function of the Seventy was similar (Luke 10:9). But in all but His earlier ministry our Lord was more occupied in what is expressly called ‘teaching.’ While John, and Jesus Himself at first, as well as His disciples throughout the Gospel period, only preached, announcing the message from heaven, it was reserved to our Lord to explain the great truths of the gospel by teaching. The forerunner and the Apostles announced that the Kingdom was to come, without discussing its nature; Jesus Christ went further, and laboured to show what this Divine Kingdom really was. So, while John was content to prepare for the Kingdom, with the assurance that it was ‘at hand,’ Jesus asked, ‘Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?’ and proceeded to illustrate its characteristics. This was regarded as teaching. Further, while the preaching was for all who would hear, a public utterance designed to arrest attention, the teaching was more especially designed for disciples; and while some of it was public, much of it was given in private. In the second year of our Lord’s ministry, after the breach with the authorities and the defection of the multitude, there was less preaching and more teaching in the training of the Twelve.

This distinction cannot, however, be maintained throughout. Sometimes our Lord’s most public utterances are described as ‘teaching,’ and are of the character of instruction (e.g. Mark 2:13; Mark 4:1-2). Moreover, teaching is blended with preaching. The difference is more carefully maintained in Mk. than in Mt. Thus Mk. states that Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14)—the public open-air proclamation; but that He went into a synagogue to teach (Mark 1:21), where after the scripture had been read He would expound it (cf. Luke 4:20 ff.). But in Mt. we have teaching and preaching both assigned to our Lord’s work in the synagogues (Matthew 4:23). We may infer from the earlier Gospel that Jesus did recognize the distinction between the two kinds of utterance, though probably one would often pass over into the other.

When we turn from verbal distinctions to the real differences, we may observe three methods followed by our Lord, according to circumstance and requirement: (1) The primitive proclamation, in making which He went on the lines laid down by John the Baptist; (2) the public teaching of the laws and principles of the Kingdom of God, offered to all who would attend to it, whether in the open air or in the synagogues; (3) the private training of His own disciples and discourse with inquirers. Both (1) and (2) come into our modern conception of Preaching, and we must understand the actual preaching of Jesus to comprehend them. See also the following article and art. Teaching.

W. F. Adeney.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Preaching (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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