Pack – Unpack – Pack

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

Last week, I wrote about the reality that great sermons are great due to what is going on in the heart, mind, and soul of the person in the pew.

Preachers of the Word have an obligation to prepare and set the table for the Spirit to work.


At the end of the day, we have zero control over the spiritual work that must go on in the life of the hearer. We can prepare a really good sermon. But it is only great when the Spirit of God who inspired the text connects with the spirit of the person He made in His image.

So, what is a preacher to do with that?

Do Psalm 119:130.

Work extra hard during the week so you can rightly unfold the text of Scripture for your people.

Pray the Spirit shines light in their hearts so they can understand.

I like to think of it this way: Pack – Unpack – Pack

I love to use the word “unpack” when speaking of walking through a text with my congregation. With that language as a guide, my thought process goes like this:

During the week as I prepare, I want to PACK God’s heart with prayer for understanding and for spiritual work to be done in the hearts of the hearers.

While preaching, I want to UNPACK the Word so that the hearers have light as the text is unfolded.

While the unpacking is happening, I am hoping (praying) for the Spirit of God to PACK the people with spiritual understanding and transformation.

Pack – Unpack – Pack

If my job is to set the table for the “unfolding of the Word,” then I must be praying as I prepare (Pack God’s heart), work hard to give understanding (Unpack the Word), and put my hope in the Spirit to give light to the hearers (Pack them with spiritual transformation).

Preacher, how do you get yourself and your congregation ready to do what only God can do?