Deep Preaching: Creating Sermons That Go Beyond the Superficial
By: J. Kent Edwards
My normal reading habits would not have led to a book on preaching and crafting a sermon. I have often times thought that preaching is something that I would not be good at (although I have often desired greatly to preach). Nevertheless, this semester I took the bold step to register for a class on Expository Preaching at Talbot because I desired to learn how to preach and prepare a sermon. Thus far I am glad that I did.
Deep Preaching (DP from here on out) is an excellent book! Not only does it discuss the methods and mechanics of preaching and preparing a sermon, it also discusses the preacher’s need to prepare himself while studying the text and preparing his outline. Dr. Edwards-who also happens to be my teacher this semester-begins his book by laying out the challenges of preaching in today’s world (ch. 1). In order for the preacher to be able to preach deep sermons his must understand the challenges that await him, both inside and outside the church. Likewise, Dr. Edwards lays out the reasons why preaching in today’s world is necessary.
In chapters 2 and 3. Dr. Edwards gives his reasons for preaching. His concern for and his emphasis on the theological reason for preaching is a breath of fresh air. To often this is missed in books and lectures today on preaching. I am unable to count the numerous times I have either heard or read how theology is divisive and what people need to hear is that Jesus loves them. Dr. Edwards does not allow this mentality to go unchallenged. Instead, he emphatically declares that theology is what makes a preacher deep, and without theology there will only be sermons of man’s clever ideas and not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The most beneficial part of DP is the emphasis on the preacher’s closet work. It is here according to Dr. Edwards where the preacher learns to go deep by means of the Holy Spirit’s work and power. While reading these chapters (8-9) I almost forgot I was reading a book on preaching; it read more like a book on spiritual growth and how the Spirit is to play a part in understanding and teaching us Scripture. Nevertheless, I found these chapters to be my favorite, and I have already began to implement these disciplines into my daily bible study and time with the Lord.
All in all, DP was hands down the best book on preaching I have come across. Dr. Edwards does not leave us with a how to manual on how to preach, or the steps to forming an expository message. No, what we are given is far greater! We are shown how to become deep preachers by means allowing the Spirit to work in us from the beginning our time in exegesis of the text to the deliverance of the sermon on Sunday morning. If you are a preacher, or a lay teacher, I highly recommend that you pick up this gem and put into practice the lessons which are laid out within. If you do, you will soon find yourself preaching deeply the word of Jesus Christ.