“I am writing this book…because I believe in preaching…I believe in you–God’s preachers–both beginning and seasoned ones…[and] I love and cherish God’s people in the local church who are the valuable recipients of the preached Word” (13). Matthew D. Kim teaches preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and as a fairly new preacher myself, I found this short book extremely valuable.
In a small space, Kim covers a ton of ground. He goes far outside the nuts and bolts of sermon creation (as I’ve experienced in other homiletics books) and broadens his scope to the why of studying homiletics as well as the who of the preacher.
The book is split into three parts: 1) Why Study Preaching?, 2) Characteristics of Faithful Preaching, and 3) Characteristics of Faithful Preachers. Kim demonstrates that all aspects are important when attempting to hone your preaching skills; therefore all need attention.
One thing I appreciated about this book was the vast amount of references Kim made to other literature in such a small space. While this book, itself, isn’t exhaustive, it directs the reader to so many other good resources that one could spend countless hours reading through all the references and come to a more “complete” understanding of the topic at hand. For that reason alone, this book is a must-have for anyone (new or established) in the pulpit.
You can purchase the book here.
The following is a list of 10 of my favorite quotes from the book. Enjoy!
1. Page 12
How far God has taken me on this journey! How much more I long to improve as a messenger! For those whom God calls to preach, God will work in and through us for his glory.
2. Page 28
We all have certain idols and vices that keep us hovering over the line between our Christian future and pre-Christian past. Each sermon provides an opportunity to invite listeners and provide space to dream new spiritual dreams.
3. Page 43
In his sovereign wisdom, God has decided upon preaching as an instrument to communicate his being, his character, his mission, his purpose, his will, his desires, his love, his holiness, his wrath, his Son, his Spirit, his pleasure, his displeasure, and all that he is and all that he has done for his people.
4. Page 49
Christians today often ask preachers the wrong questions. Rather than asking God about how to be more Christlike, we ask how much sin he is willing to forgive after the fact.
5. Page 56
Biblical preaching is synonymous with a commitment to solid biblical exegesis and interpretation as the first step, rather than beginning with the gauntlets of contrarian views heaved on us by the wider contemporary culture.
6. Page 62
The reality is that every person read Scripture through a particular lens. This lens often stems from one’s core or dominant identity. Awareness of and attention to our own perspective–our own cultural lens–can help us as we seek to interpret the text. The problem becomes when the lens blurs or obstructs our vision of what God’s Word says objectively.
7. Page 65
How can we preach God’s Word if we do not know what it says and means?
8. Page 102
Paul does not pen vague letters. Rather, he addresses specific churches, specific individuals, and specific joys and problems because he knew them as a pastor. In the same way, our preaching when coupled with pastoring allows us to be direct in our proclamation. We can be direct because we are in relationship with the people to whom we are preaching.
9. Page 112
One of the ways to safeguard your character and integrity is to be who you are and like who you are instead of trying to be someone else or liking who someone else is.
10. Page 115
Most pastors know how to exegete Scripture and how to parse verbs. We know how to find an exegetical idea and a preaching idea for a given passage. We understand how this text relates to biblical theology. We learn about the cultures of the biblical world. We understand for the most part how to relate the text to people’s lives. Do we, however, pray for God to transform the lives of our hearers through the power of the Holy Spirit?
11. Page 122
[Until] Jesus returns or calls you home, preach for the love of people and the joy of life transformation, preach with the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, preach for the sake of Christ and the glorious gospel, and preach for the glory of God the Father! Amen.