Conventional preaching textbooks frequently begin with the “how-to” for a proposed model of preaching (e.g., narrative, inductive, deductive, etc.). However, these texts fail to establish a basis for preaching from the biblical text. By this I mean no arguments are made for the necessity of preaching; this is automatically assumed. It is because preaching has always occurred in churches, and pulpits around the world and books are focused on mechanics, that these arguments for the necessity of preaching are often excluded. Understand that I am not arguing against books that teach the basic principles of preaching and sermon preparation. There is a mandate for a different type of “ministry of the Word” found in preaching that is not in general group study of the Bible. Every Christian is called to study the Bible, but not every study session is a sermon.
This is the aim of Jonathan Griffiths’ book Preaching in the New Testament which provides an exegetical and theological argument for the necessity of the ministry of the Word known to Christians as preaching. Griffiths exegesis begins with verbs in the Greek language that are connected to the act of preaching, heralding, proclamation, or a combination thereof. Griffiths exegesis is seeking to assuage any tension between differing word ministries in the church and to establish the conclusion of if churches should continue to allow preaching. Moreover, Griffiths ensures that the reader possesses proper theology of the Word of God to begin the preaching journey.
The second portion to Preaching is the application of the exegesis of the Greek verbs which give credence to preaching in the biblical text. Texts surveyed are Hebrews, Romans 10, 1 Thessalonians 1-2, and others. Griffiths chose these passages due to their call to post-apostolic preaching. I am thankful Griffiths examines these because each text presents a different characteristic to post-apostolic age preaching.
Griffiths has written a volume which will contribute to homiletics far beyond expectation. I say this because it is not another “how-to”, but rather it argues the heart of the necessity for preaching from the biblical text. Thus it is not only theologically consistent but also exegetically consistent. For preachers of all ages and students of preaching, I hope you will consider adding this book to the preaching section of your library.
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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