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Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Invitation to Philippians" (Donald R. Sunukjian)

TITLE: Invitation to Philippians: Building a Great Church through Humility (Biblical Preaching for the Contemporary Church)
AUTHOR: Donald R. Sunukjian
PUBLISHER: Wooster, OH: Weaver Book Company, 2014, (124 pages).

Based on a popular preaching textbook (Invitation to Biblical Preaching) used by many students of preaching, author Donald Sunukjian continues with this new volume of sermons on biblical preaching for the contemporary Church. In this edition, readers will find fourteen sermons that were originally preached before a congregation, and slightly edited to fit readers instead of hearers. Currently a homiletics professor at Talbot School of Theology, with doctorates in communications and theology, Sunukjian has both the academic credentials and the pastoral experiences to teach us the art of biblical preaching. The big idea in this book is how the Apostle Paul helps to build a "great Church through humility." The Church at Philippi was the only one that had supported Paul financially. They were dear people in his heart. He encouraged the Philippians for their faithfulness and their resilience in the midst of trials. By structuring the whole letter in a chiastic fashion, readers will find the central characters of humility and self-sacrifice in the examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus.

Sunukjian's Chiastic Structure of Philippians

With the above as the preaching framework, readers are set to learn from one of the best preachers in the evangelical world. Each sermon begins with a catchy story to highlight the problem at hand. It is quickly followed up with a contextual description behind the passage. Interweaving flashbacks to the past and relevance to the present, Sunukjian expounds the biblical texts with clarity and with purpose. He typically ends with a call to the good news as expressed in Paul's letter.

Readers may ask: How is humility demonstrated in this book? Frankly, that is the essence of Philippians in the first place. For the uninitiated, Sunukjian brings in elements of love, obedience to Scripture, posture of gratitude, letting God be first, perseverance in spite of trouble, salvation and deliverance, and many more.

How do we read this book? For those of us who are students of homiletics and preaching, this book needs to be used in conjunction with the main textbook, "Invitation to Biblical Preaching" by the same author. This book complements by putting the principles introduced in that book into practice. Second, learn the way Sunukjian bridges the ancient and the modern with stories, everyday language, and of course, the biblical picture. Finally, the casual reader will have a lot to benefit too, as the sermons not just teach us, but show us the way to learn humility in Christ.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Weaver Book Company and Cross-Focused-Reviews in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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