I have preached a handful of times. And though I have far from mastered the craft, I do know this: it is a weighty task. I fear preaching something other than what is taught in God’s Word.
Others are less concerned. In the concise, practical preaching primer Engaging Exposition, Daniel Akin, Bill Curtis and Stephen Rummage identify this “crisis in twenty-first-century preaching”: many ministers neglect the preaching God’s Word in favor of lesser substitutes.
In response, the authors prescribe one powerful solution: expository preaching, which they define as “Christ centered, text driven, Spirit led preaching that transforms lives.”
To equip you to preach expositionally, the authors dive into the three steps of the expository preaching process:
- Hermeneutics — Studying the Text.
Section one of Engaging Exposition details hermeneutics, the work which precedes preaching. The purpose of hermeneutics is “to help the pastor-teacher interpret and apply his text in accordance with its real meaning,” and hermeneutical process culminates in you identifying the Main Idea of the Text.
- Homiletics — Preparing the Sermon.
Section two of Engaging Exposition discusses homiletics, the process of preparing the sermon. You transform the Main Idea of the Text into the Main Idea of the Message (“the heart and soul of your sermon”) and structure your sermon according to the text. With a structure in place, you can develop the message by adding exegesis details, illustrations, applications, the introduction and the conclusion.
- Delivery — Communicating the Sermon
Section three of Engaging Exposition addresses delivery. While a sermon’s contents are critical, the authors emphasize that the sermon will be “evaluated on the basis of how you deliver it.” As a result, you have to take pains to hone the craft of delivery — including everything from vocal quality, gestures, styles of delivery and visual aids.
Engaging Exposition is a brief yet powerful resource which equips preachers for every stage of the preaching process — from blank page to altar call. It is exhortative, practical and encouraging. And it is light on fluff, heavy on content. Though dense, Engaging Exposition is clearly structured and simply written.
One minor objection is that the authors address the preacher’s personal spiritual life in the final chapter. Perhaps this topic should have been given greater emphasis. After all, the preacher’s spiritual life is foundational to sermon preparation, not a footnote (as I’m sure the authors would agree).
Despite this objection, Engaging Exposition is a handy reference I’ll continue to keep by my side throughout the preaching process.
Source: Akin, Daniel L., Bill Curtis, and Stephen Rummage. Engaging Exposition. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2011.