Someone once told me that a sermon of mine seemed like a Fred Craddock sermon. I could not have received a higher compliment. But it wasn’t true. Craddock stood above us all. (He was not a tall man. So the using words like “above us all” and “giant” are ironic, kind of an inside joke.)
Dr. Fred Craddock was a preacher and teacher of preachers. I never took a class from him. But I attended many workshops and similar events led by him. And I often heard him preach.
He died last week at the age of 86. There is an appreciative article by Stephen Cuss at the Jesus Creed blog. It is called “Craddock the Giant”.
Cuss gives 8 lessons he learned from Craddock. #6 has to do with biblical interpretation:
Not just “what does the text say” but “what does this author want us to notice?” Before Craddock, I’d never thought much about the difference between Matthew and Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, but since Craddock, I always ask this vital question and it always brings the text more alive.
So the diversity of scripture becomes a help, rather than a road block. The different authors of the Bible want you to notice different things. It is faithful to the text to bring out the differences.