The Mystery of Preaching

There is something mystical that happens in the hearts of listeners in the preaching event. Preaching is not a time to stand up, string words together as the ancient orators once did, and sit down. Typical of Protestant worship services, preaching of God’s Word is the culminating event. The hearts of listeners are prepared from singing songs of praise and adoration, and now the event to hear the exposition of God’s Word. As Darrell Johnson says, “Something always happens” (see introduction).

“The Glory of Preaching” is a well-written book discussing the emphasis of preaching and the necessity to worship God through preaching. Something unique to this work is what the author hopes to accomplish by way of the subtitle- preaching is partaking in the mystery of God.

This book serves as an explicit reminder for pastors to preach Scripture faithfully. Johnson mentions in the introduction his high view of preaching (this stems from his background in the Reformed tradition). In spite of his Reformed tradition, readers should walk away with an insatiable desire to consistently and faithfully preach God’s Word. This, as Johnson goes on to write, stems from holy living. Unique to this book that I have not found elsewhere is Johnson’s address of the preacher’s life. Holiness is not something prescribed to congregants, but to pastors, too. The life of the one who preaches is, as Johnson says, “to be lived in preparation” (206-219). Of course, this book is also traditional in the sense of describing what a sermon is, the (best according to Johnson) form of preaching, and provides the basics of sermon preparation (outlines, for example). Johnson returns to the “mystery” in the final chapters and concludes with the essential role of the Spirit in the place where we preach (not to mention our lives). Finally, a sermon in the epilog ends this book providing an example of the “mechanics” learned from previous chapters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, not simply because I want to teach preaching/homiletics courses, but also because I have a passion for preaching God’s Word faithfully. If you preach, even if only once a month or once a year, you need to read this book and understand the magnitude of the event in which you participate.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and a positive review was not required. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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