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: 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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Review: Preaching with Bold Assurance: A Solid and Enduring Approach to Engaging Exposition

Preaching with Bold Assurance: A Solid and Enduring Approach to Engaging ExpositionPreaching with Bold Assurance: A Solid and Enduring Approach to Engaging Exposition by Hersheal York
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is divided into three parts: The Text, The Sermon, and Delivery. Part I was the strongest. Part II started with an explanation of the trademarked Decker Grid System for building sermons that felt like quite a departure from Part I, though getting past that, there was definitely good material. Part III was about delivering sermons so the focus was on effective communication. Some of the psychology stuff got in the way, but it helped me think about different aspects of delivering a sermon and connecting with an audience.

Overall, it is not an exhaustive treatment, nor was it intended to be. The book covers a good bit of ground from studying the text, to building the sermon, to delivering the sermon. Throughout I was challenged to think about my own ministry and examine deficient areas in my own preaching. I’m thankful for the book and recommend it as worth reading.

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Review: The Art of Prophesying with the Calling of the Ministry: A Needed Tool for All Pastors

The Art of Prophesying with The Calling of the Ministry: A Needed Tool for All PastorsThe Art of Prophesying with The Calling of the Ministry: A Needed Tool for All Pastors by William Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The original being published in the late 1500s was the first book on preaching written and published in the English language. By “prophesying,” the author refers to preaching as the expounding of Scripture and application of its truth to the congregation. It’s an old usage and does not in any way refer to modern day prophesying by various charismatics.

Perkins treats preaching from a pastoral perspective. There are some practical suggestions here and there, but very little space is given to aspects of delivery. He primarily deals with interpreting and expounding Scripture. So it’s quite a contrast from so many more modern books on preaching. Perkins throughout promotes a high view of the sufficiency and authority of Scripture, such that preaching including teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction, should all come from the meaning of the passage of Scripture. This high view of Scripture and the presupposition that all aspects of preaching should derive from the natural meaning of the text is what gives this treatment on preaching high value. Even his words on applications have the same assumption.

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