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Fred Clark wrote a helpful post about “concordanceism” a while back. Here is an excerpt:
If you’ve spent a lifetime hearing sermons and homilies — especially evangelical sermons — then you’ve no doubt encountered concordance-ism and its unfortunate byproducts. You’ve likely heard some preacher admit to it. Sometimes this is a sheepish confession acknowledging their last-minute, I-got-nothin’ sermon-prep from the night before. But sometimes it’s not a confession but a boast, with the preacher bragging that they “looked up every passage about X” to thereby claim that what they were preaching about X was comprehensive and authoritative.
That’s concordance-ism. And it doesn’t work.
But while concordance-ism is neither comprehensive nor authoritative, it’s always revealing. The “biblical” sermons and “biblical” arguments cobbled together by someone concordancing always plainly show just exactly which words that person looked up in search of authoritative prooftexts. And thus also, and more significantly, they show which words that person did not include. That latter, vastly longer list of words not included...
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