Is preaching an art or a science? Is it a craft or a calling? Yes, and much more. Sermons must seem alien to those outside the church, and there seems to be more opinions about their nature and definition within the church than there are people. Indeed, clarity is needed in these days of ambiguity.
Our understanding of preaching will form our expectations, and our expectations will lead to actions that shape the practice of preaching in our churches. Whether you are a student in seminary, on a pastoral search committee, or a follower of Christ seeking to get your head wrapped around what preaching really should be, this is a worthy consideration. Of course, there are many lenses from which our understanding can be viewed: culture, philosophy, tradition, religion, preference, or style. However, it is the word of God that must ultimately shape our understanding and practice of preaching.
As I sit and look at the bookshelves in front of me, there are eight books written about preaching. Some focus on the craft, some offer practical guidance, and some are a call to rethink and reform the current state of the pulpit. Of course, if my limited library contains eight works along these lines, then you can imagine the plethora of books, articles, blogs, and lectures on preaching. This actually warrants a more focused examination of introducing exposition.
The chapters in my e-book “An Introduction to Exposition: The Definition, Purpose, Power, and Dangers of Preaching” introduce biblical preaching through defining, examining the purpose, identifying the power, cautioning against dangerous trends, and taking a deeper look at exposition. My prayer is that we are able to sift through all the opinions and find within our possession the true gem of faithful preaching: exposition.