Homiletics 2 File 18 Professor Carl Fickenscher II Question by: Joshua >> JOSHUA: Now, what about the text itself? How do you break down those actual verses? >> PROF. FICKENSCHER: I'd say Step 4 is still to take another read through your pericope, your text, in a really very still relaxed kind of manner, almost like a trip on a vacation, passing through, looking at everything you see on the way. Step 4, read through the text in overview. And of course this would be using the vernacular, the English language for those of us whose first language is English. As you're doing this, just, as I say, do it like a tourist. Ask the kind of questions of yourself that arise freely as you're driving through. Anything that strikes you as being particularly colorful. Also, any questions that might occur to your hearers as they are hearing this text for the first time as the gospel, let's say, of the day. Any colorful phrases or lively illustrations that you see in the text. As you read through it casually in English, jot those down and make those available. Also, any confusions that arise or any difficulties that seem apparent to you as you read through. If you see something there that just doesn't seem to make sense, that seems very tough, very challenging, jot those down as well. At this point, it's very important also to read a number of translations, particularly if you don't have access to the original language, to the Greek or to the Hebrew. A number of good translations can be very helpful and be can be quite revealing. Translations that are particularly useful would be the New American Standard, the NIV, the King James, the New King James, the ESV. Also, the RSV, the Revised Standard, fits into that category as well. Translations that you might want to be a little cautious about would be the paraphrases, like The Living Bible, Today's English Version, The Good News Bible, or the J.B. Phillips translation. Not that you wouldn't want to look at those. In fact, they could be very helpful. But be cautious, realizing that they are actually not literal translations but, rather, paraphrases. And you perhaps know the difference. A translation is one that does its very best to give exactly the equation from the original language to our language today, with very variations for what we call dynamic equivalents, whereas a paraphrase summarizes lengthy portions with the in quotation marks translator or the editorial group seeking, instead, to express basically what the idea is about, rather than to give us the direct translation itself. As you're reading through each of these versions, the more literal translations and also the paraphrases, it's helpful to note the differences between them or among them. These can be perhaps very revealing. Remember, for example, when we were talking about law and gospel in Unit 1. We talked about how in 2 Timothy 2:15, that the NASB translated Paul's words to be rightly handling or accurately handling the word of truth. Now, that expressed the idea well, but the King James, the New King James said, "rightly dividing the word of truth," which perhaps was a little closer to that "cutting straight" idea that was the literal translation of the Greek. As you look at those different translations and note the differences, it won't answer all your questions. It will raise a lot of questions. But this is still the point at which you are in Step No. 4. It's still a comfortable overview, a casual journey through the text. Also, as you work with Step 4, getting an overview, you want to begin to ask yourself: What is the text doing? Now, we're familiar, of course, with the question "What is the text saying," and that's where we usually focus our attention, but texts also do things. They elicit certain responses in people. A miracle text, for example, might cause us to feel a big "wow," or an epistle text might, in a logical, rather cerebral way, rather cognitive way, might help us to more fully understand a particular teaching. A psalm, because of its picture language, might give us imagery that would cause an emotional response. Texts do these things as well as say things, and in this overview of the text, we should also try to sense what the text is causing inside us, what it is bringing about for us.