Shooting Over the Head of your Hearers

His neighbors took a little boy to church who had never been before. When he got home, his parents asked him,

    “What did the preacher preach?”

    “He didn’t say,” the boy replied.1

Paul wrote that ministers are to “study,” so they can “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). “Study” implies disciplined and diligent research. To “rightly divide the word of truth” means “straight and cut,” i.e., “…cut in a straight line.”

“It was used for cutting a straight furrow in a field, or laying out a straight road”. In the Septuagint, it is used in the sense of ‘direct, make straight, make plain.’

The use of the word suggests that the minister is one who ‘makes straight paths’ for the feet of his people to tread in. The thought is that the minister is to present the truth rightly, not abridging it, nor handling it as would a charlatan…but treating it honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner. The preacher should offer a sane, sensible interpretation of Scripture.”2

James Denney, the great Scottish theologian, once said, “If you shoot over the head of your hearers, you don’t prove anything except that you don’t know how to shoot.”3


© 2017 D & L Publications


  1. A Treasury of Humor, Clyde Murdock, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1967, “Attention”
  2. Word Studies in the New Testament, Ralph Earle, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA, 01961-3473, Copyright 1974, p. 405
  3. Why Billy Graham?, David Poling, p. 59 –