Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Haddon Robinson - Expository Preaching

I read this book because a good friend who is also a good preacher strongly recommended it to me. And he was right to do so.

It is just about the best book I've read on how practically to prepare a sermon on a passage of the Bible. It's aimed at an introductory level, but so that it's thought-provoking and challenging for people who are used to it as well. If I was teaching someone to preach, or helping someone to preach better (unless there was a specific issue to deal with), this is just about the number 1 book I'd want them to read. When I was at theological college, I attended several lectures on preaching, and used to wonder how they could be done in such a way that would be accessible to people with a variety of different levels of experience and skill. This is how.

It allows for a variety of styles and outcomes, and acknowledges that good preachers often do things radically differently from the method he recommends for preparation, but it's good to hear how he'd do it, and I've found his method helpful for dealing with the task of writing a sermon when I don't feel in the mood to do so.

I might do a post in the future on how he recommends a sermon should be prepared...

The one thing I thought was a huge and dangerous omission is that he talks remarkably little about the importance of prayer for the preacher. Preaching is not something that is fundamentally our work - it is God's work through us, and while it is of course important to understand the passage and explain and expound it in a way that is relevant to the hearers, it is useless unless God speaks to their hearts by his Holy Spirit. Prayer should permeate the process of sermon preparation through and through. But if you assume that from the start, this gives you a good way to prepare a sermon which will proclaim God's Word faithfully, relevantly and hopefully challengingly.

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