Saturday, 7 July 2012

Writing about Jesus

Recently I started reading a book with a rather uninspiring title called Sermons on Important Doctrines. We are told not to judge a book by its cover; neither should we judge one by its title, at least not this one. Mind you, I bought it because I have benefitted greatly from other books by the author, John Colquhoun, who was a much-loved minister in Edinburgh a couple of centuries ago.

This book could be summarised as describing what Jesus did for and can do for each of his followers. It begins with his person and moves on to his actions. Whenever I look at a book, I ask myself, 'What are the qualifications that the author will need for writing such a book?' Here are five that I would say are necessary for writing about Jesus:

An understanding of doctrine is essential because it is easy to go wrong; fortunately, Colquhoun understood what the Bible says about Jesus and is a sure guide.

A longing for his listeners and his readers to grasp what he had to say is also essential (it is an interesting subjective experience to realise that this preacher, who was dead long before I was born, was concerned for all who would read his words). 

 A third essential qualification for preaching and writing about Jesus is a warm love for him, and Colquhoun certainly had such a love.

Connected to the third qualification is a fourth, which is that the preacher/writer should enjoy speaking/writing about his Master. And Colquhoun lets us know his enjoyment when he says at the beginning, 'In elucidating this delightful subject...'

The fifth essential qualification is dependence on the Holy Spirit, which Colquhoun admits was his outlook.

As I made my way through the book, it remained obvious that the author possessed these qualifications.

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