Book Review: Preach: Theology Meets Practice

Preach: Theology Meets PracticePreach: Theology Meets Practice by Mark Dever
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seldom does any book stand as a definitive and exhaustive treatment of its subject. Looking for such a book is often a futile effort. Typically, the value of a book will lie in the way it fits into the gaps and contributes to a larger subject. That is why I think this book is so worthy of attention. It is certainly not an exhaustive treatment on preaching, nor a technical how-to in preparing and delivering sermons. It is a good practical discussion on preaching.

This book is particularly helpful in the realm of preaching application. Most preaching seems to be one of two extremes on application. Some preaching tries to be all application all the time and fails to preach the contextual meaning of passage. This results in very man-centered preaching, consoling and cementing people’s natural tendency to think the Bible is primarily about them. Sitting under that sort of preaching over time will not mature a person in the faith, nor it will it increase their knowledge of God through what his word actually reveals about him.

The second extreme is either a sort of spiritual meditation out loud in front of people, or a mere doctrinal lecture that remains abstract and ultimately disconnected from real life. Even when true things are said with this method, it fails as any actual preaching of God’s word. People are not matured in the faith, but are only entertained or intellectually stimulated.

When a preacher gets up to preach, he has two things primarily in front of him–the Bible and people. His job is to explain what the Bible says and means and then apply that to the actual lives of the actual people in front of him. This kind of preaching is founded first on an accurate explanation of the biblical passage and then a processing of its meaning to the real flesh and blood people in the seats. The preacher must first know what the passage means in its original context and then must work through what it means to unbelievers present, new believers present, mature believers present, the local church membership present, men present, women present, etc.

How many times have pastors been frustrated by poor attendance only to get up and preach against miss church and the poor attenders, true to form, are not there? Preachers have to think about who will be there and take care to preach to them. I could say more, but I highly recommend this book. Every preacher ought to read it, and he ought to start right away.

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Book Review: Preaching Christ from Proverbs

Preaching Christ from ProverbsPreaching Christ from Proverbs by Jonathan Akin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Proverbs may be one of the most difficult books to connect with the others in terms of the Bible’s main story and, therefore, one of the most difficult books to preach Christ from. Akin offers some good help in this book. Jesus is the only wise and obedient son who blessed his Father, but he suffered as a foolish and disobedient son in order to bring foolish and disobedient sons to wisdom. This book will help if you’re trying to work through preaching Christ from wisdom literature.

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Book Review: Jesus’ Crucifixion Beatings and the Book of Proverbs

Jesus' Crucifixion Beatings and the Book of ProverbsJesus’ Crucifixion Beatings and the Book of Proverbs by David H. Wenkel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent study. The format is academic but the prose is accessible. His argument got a little thin in a couple spots but his thesis is sound and defended. Wenkel pointed out the lack of Christ-centered preaching in Proverbs, and I think he is right that problems have arisen by the absence of canonical reading of Proverbs. He developed his argument patiently and his theological propositions are mostly reserved for the last chapter, but it is well worth the wait.

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Book Review: My Man Jeeves

My Man Jeeves (Jeeves, #1)My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good collection of Jeeves stories. I am not a big fan of the Reggie Pepper stories, though I suppose an historian must consider him canonical as a part of the Bertie Wooster origin story. A fun read as usual.

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Book Review: The Beginning and End of Wisdom: Preaching Christ from the First and Last Chapters of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job

The Beginning And End Of Wisdom: Preaching Christ From The First And Last Chapters Of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, And JobThe Beginning And End Of Wisdom: Preaching Christ From The First And Last Chapters Of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, And Job by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Expository preaching in the wisdom books of the Old Testament is challenging. The wisdom books are often neglected, or used to offer self-help style tips. Preaching Christ from the wisdom books is rare. This book is like cold, fresh water in the desert. The book has seven chapters and two helpful appendices. The first six chapters are sermons–two each from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. The seventh chapter breaks down those sermons and shows the how and why of the way they were put together.

The author gives us help on preaching Christ from the wisdom books in a concise and accessible way. O’Donnell gives a good, brief description of what preaching Christ means and explains the use of types in the Scripture. Every preacher needs to read and consider this book. It will help you.

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