What about that Pulpit?

A Pulpit is defined as an elevated stand to preach from. We have a couple of references to such in the Bible.

Don’t get sidetracked with all the hard names.

2 Chronicles 6:13,  Now Solomon had made a bronze platform 7½ feet long, 7½ feet wide, and 4½ feet high and had placed it at the center of the Temple’s outer courtyard. He stood on the platform, and then he knelt in front of the entire community of Israel and lifted his hands toward heaven. 14 He prayed,

Nehemiah 8: 4-8,  Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.

 These are the two references from which we have our modern day pulpit. As with many other things the pulpit is sometimes a point of contention. As you see above there are two references to platforms that were referred to in the Bible.

In neither of these references do we have a command to build places (pulpits) to speak from but many people today have the belief that the preacher must stand behind the pulpit in order to show honor and reverence to God. I have heard many preachers refer to the pulpit as the sacred desk. We can research that further. However the two places mentioned in the scripture here are what I believe to be references to a strategic place from which to speak so that people could see and hear the one speaking. There was nothing spiritual about it.

I am reminded of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. He was appalled at the idea of outdoor or “open air preaching”. It was George Whitfield that helped to open his eyes to the need of the people and when John saw the work that was being done he eventually preached from a headstone in a graveyard, because it was the most strategic place for the most people to hear him.

Good Stuff


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