A brief passage from Pope Francis today. The preacher doesn’t really get to choose a convenient perspective–whatever suits the mood. There is the specific passage. There is also the larger perspective of the entire Bible. There is also a valid personal experience, which I would interpret as an examination of the confluence between the Word, the grace of the Spirit, and God’s hand in the life of the believer.
148. Certainly, to understand properly the meaning of the central message of a text we need to relate it to the teaching of the entire Bible as handed on by the Church. This is an important principle of biblical interpretation which recognizes that the Holy Spirit has inspired not just a part of the Bible, but the Bible as a whole, and that in some areas people have grown in their understanding of God’s will on the basis of their personal experience. It also prevents erroneous or partial interpretations which would contradict other teachings of the same Scriptures. But it does not mean that we can weaken the distinct and specific emphasis of a text which we are called to preach. One of the defects of a tedious and ineffectual preaching is precisely its inability to transmit the intrinsic power of the text which has been proclaimed.
So, a question: does preaching you hear have the power? How do we know what is the power of God and what is psychological manipulation?
Evangelii Gaudium is available online.