In this primer, veteran Bible scholar and preacher Alec Motyer offers his insights and wisdom garnered from a lifetime of preaching. Many will know Motyer from his commentary on Isaiah and will find here a very personal work with reminiscence and reflection. For those not familiar with this influential preacher, Preaching? will provide a good introduction.
Motyer opens with a confession that when he first began to preach he really didn’t know how to go about his duty. In the first chapter, entitled “Between You and Me” he writes, “Looking back, it took me a surprisingly long time to learn that sermons are not spontaneous or extended intuitions but things to be worked at, and it took even longer to discover how to go about it” (p. 8). The following thirteen chapters then outline his way of preparation and the spiritual life that is necessary for a godly ministry.
Chapters 2 through 5 contain a philosophy of preaching, if you will. Motyer shares with the reader just what the job of preaching entails and why it is so important. Following this overview of the task, the next 5 chapters present the basics of sermon preparation, which involve examination, analysis, orientation, what Motyer calls “harvesting”, and presentation. Throughout these chapters the author not only gives instruction but offers numerous examples of what he has in mind. Drawn from a wealth of sermonic material, these illustrations provide the reader with a clear way to see the theory put into practice. The final four chapters stress application, the preacher’s own walk with God, and the necessity of preaching Christ, “the tenderest word of all”. Following the body of the book, the author has included 10 appendices. Each of these contains a series of brief devotional thoughts gathered around a central theme or passage of Scripture. Here the reader will find helpful material for his own spiritual life and perhaps kindling for a series of messages.
Preaching? offers the young preacher a warm and heartening chat from an older and wiser brother–mentor. The conversational tone makes for easy reading, and those just beginning the task of preaching will find encouragement to work hard, instruction on how to go about the work, and a challenge to maintain a close walk with God.
About the Reviewer:
Rhett Dodson is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Hudson, Ohio. He previously served as an associate pastor and seminary professor. Originally from Pickens, South Carolina, Rhett has a PhD in Old Testament. He and his wife Theresa, live in Hudson.
Be on the lookout for Rhett’s new book The Unashamed Workman: How Expositors Prepare and Preach in July 2014