Original Research

Psychological type and the pulpit: An empirical enquiry concerning preachers and the SIFT method of biblical hermeneutics

Leslie J. Francis, Amanda Robbins, Andrew Village
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a161 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.161 | © 2009 Leslie J. Francis, Amanda Robbins, Andrew Village | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 March 2009 | Published: 03 August 2009

About the author(s)

Leslie J. Francis, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Amanda Robbins, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Andrew Village, York St John University, United Kingdom

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Abstract

A sample of 389 experienced preachers completed a measure of psychological type. They then read Mark 1:29–39 and recorded their evaluations of the four refl ections on this passage proposed by Francis (1997) and which were derived from the SIFT method of biblical hermeneutics and liturgical preaching. Three main conclusions are drawn from these data. First, compared with the United Kingdom population norms, preachers within this sample were signifi cantly more likely to prefer introversion, intuition, feeling and judging. Second, preachers were four times more likely to prefer a sensing interpretation of the text rather than a thinking interpretation, emphasising the richness of the narrative rather than facing the theological questions posed by it. Third, there was little evidence to suggest that preachers were less likely to appreciate interpretations consonant with their less preferred or inferior function than those consonant with their most preferred or dominant function. In this sense, the richness of the SIFT method should be accessible to preachers of all psychological types.

Keywords

psychological type; SIFT method; biblical hermenutics; Gospel of Mark; preachers

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