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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Biblical Preaching, Third Edition" (Haddon Robinson)

TITLE: Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages
AUTHOR: Haddon Robinson
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014, (256 pages).

What is the secret that makes a 1 hour sermon feels like 30 minutes, and a 30-minute sermon that seems like an hour long? This one question drives one of the world's best preachers to seek out, to be soaked in, and to share widely the need for good biblical and expository preaching. After laying some initial thoughts and definitions about what biblical and expository preaching is, world renowned Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary shows us exactly how to go about preparing, developing, and delivering sermons with the Big-Idea concept. The basic concept is that every big idea comprises of two essential parts: a subject and a complement.

Subject: "What am I talking about?"
Complement: "What am I saying about the subject?"

This big idea must come from the biblical text itself. The subject can be developed using six faithful friends: who, what, when, where, why, how. The complement then goes on to provide the other half of the big idea equation. Going to specific details with many examples, Robinson shows us the different tools that one can use for sermon preparation. He shows us that the Bible text is the primary source that leads toward the sermon. The three phases of explaining, proving, and applying will help preachers sharpen their big idea delivery. Even the title of the sermon needs to be well thought through. He goes through the three different ways in which sermons can be prepared:
  1. Deductively: Point declared at the start, and the sermon then goes on to prove that point.
  2. Inductively: Point by point delivery until the whole picture is formed.
  3. Semi-Inductively: Combination of the two above.
On illustrations, we are taught to study cookbooks as a way to sharpen our pointers and improve our clarity. On the introduction and the conclusion, readers are urged to begin with a bang and to conclude with a burning focus. It can be restating the main points. It can be tying up the loose ends. It can also be a summary. Whether it is a prayer, a quotation, a story, a summary, or a visual, the conclusion needs to leave listeners with a memorable thought.

On the delivery, readers are given tips on dressing, on expressive gestures and movements, eye contact, vocal variety, pitch, punch, rehearsal, and many more. He ends on an encouraging note for readers not to be swamped by the daunting details but to prayerfully trust God to lead and to guide the whole process of development and delivery. The many exercises, evaluations, and the examples provide readers a healthy range of applications and learning points.

Now in its third edition, this book still packs a big punch. As a past student of Robinson, I can hear his voice just coming across powerfully and yet gentle in instruction. This edition has been expanded with contributions from several of Robinson's students and colleagues, friends and peers. It also incorporates many of the feedback obtained from readers of the past editions. For example, some of the exercises provided have been fine-tuned. Others have been contributed by students and preachers. This classic book on biblical preaching remains a top recommendation for anyone studying the art of preaching or teaching homiletics.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Baker Academic and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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