Neh_8:4-5 provides us with one other aspect of preaching, namely, that a pulpit was built for that purpose. The Hebrew migdāl (H4026), which has forms in other Semitic languages, actually means “a tower.” It’s used for the Tower of Babel (Gen_11:4), a tower built into a city wall (2Ch_14:7), and the watchtower in a vineyard (Isa_5:2).
Many old churches had high pulpits accessed only by a spiral staircase, which is the idea in the Hebrew. Scotsman Alistair Begg recounts a vivid memory from his childhood when he sat in St. George’s Tron Church in Glasgow waiting for morning worship to begin. He writes: “At about three minutes to eleven the beadle [parish official] would climb the pulpit stairs and place a large Bible on the lectern. Having opened it to the appropriate passage, he would descend, and the minister would in turn ascend the stairs and sit in the cone-shaped pulpit. The beadle would complete his duties by climbing the stairs the second time to close the pulpit door and leave the pastor to his task. There was no doubt in my young mind that each part of that procedure was marked with significance. There was clearly no reason for the pastor to be in the pulpit apart from the Bible upon which he looked down as he read. I understood that, in contrast to his physical posture, the pastor was standing under Scripture, not over it. Similarly, we were listening not so much for his message but for its message.”
So central was preaching to John Calvin, that he ordered all altars (which for centuries had been the focal point of the pagan mass) removed from the churches and a pulpit with a Bible on it placed in the center of the building. Everything pointed to that as the center of worship. Similarly, Martin Lloyd-Jones ordered the pulpit to be bolted to the floor at Westminster Chapel in London.
How different it is in many churches today! If the speaker must have a lectern, it is on the same level with the congregation so as not to imply that he is “above them.” Is the preacher better than the people? Should he be elevated above them? Of course not. We do, however, elevate the Word of God and its proclamation as absolute truth.
Dear Christian Friend, I pray that you will seek a church where the Word of God is elevated and its exposition is primary.
Scriptures for Study: 2Ti_4:1-4 are among the last words Paul wrote. What do they say about preaching?


Filed under Hebrew

2 responses to “Pulpit

  1. Gede Prama

    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful words and for such a wonderful response…:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s