Interpretive Principles and Practices
The Heart of Expository Preaching
These are some of the skills we seek to develop in the courses, confer- ences, and media products of The Proclamation Trust. They are not new, nor are they complex, but they are largely neglected and sadly underpracticed. Of course, they call for hard work, which demands time, energy, and application, and these, in turn, are things that many preachers have decided are not a priority in their schedule. I believe it is greatly to the detriment of our churches. This collection of essays celebrates a different set of values, modeled consistently over the many years of Kent’s ministry as he has put the Word of God in the hands of the Spirit of God to accomplish his own unique, Christ-glorifying work. Such preaching priorities badly need to be reclaimed across our enfeebled Western churches.
Homiletics, the introduction of novel multimedia presentations, or any other new techniques are not where we need to look for a revival of the Word of God in our culture. We need to look to preaching that has developed from listening passionately to Scripture and to preachers who incarnate that truth in their lives and seek to channel it to their hearers. We shall all do it differently, since, in Phillips Brookes’s famous definition, preaching is “truth through personality.” But we need to pray and work for an army of young preachers to be raised up by God to reclaim the pulpits of Western culture for faithful, penetrating, and life-changing proclamation of God’s Word as “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Effective exposition finds its origin and power not so much in clever sermon construction, as in detailed, obedient listening to God’s voice in the text. The Bible really must be in the driver’s seat, dictating the content of the message, its contemporary application, and even its shape. When we serve God’s Word in this way we come to realize that the Bible is a book about God long before it is a book about us, and that its stron- gest relevance and most urgent application is to teach us how to live rightly in the light of his unchanging nature. There will, of course, be parallels between God’s old covenant dealings with Israel and his new covenant dealing with us, the universal church, which is the body of Christ. We shall find many similarities between ourselves and the men and women we meet in the Bible’s pages. But we shall come to recognize that we are not the focus of the story, and that we should not read our circumstances or experiences into theirs. This is God’s book, and it is about God first before it is our book about our relationship with him. Consecutive biblical exposition seeks to guard and propagate these