I began seminary in the Spring of 1974. My homiletics professor also wrote the textbook that we used that semester, Lloyd Perry’s A Manual For Biblical Preaching. Though I spent most of the years since then in a college classroom teaching Computer Science, that book did provide the foundation for whatever I spent in the pulpit for many years - I expect it still does. It was 10 years ago that I discovered another text on preaching that greatly influenced my thinking about my sermon preparation each week, Wayne McDill’s 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching. Though I have never sat under the teaching of Dr. McDill, I was privileged to correspond with him by e-mail a number of years ago.
This past month I discovered a third book that will help form my work in the pulpit. Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching is a classic, now in its 3rd edition - but I do not remember having an opportunity to read, rather devour, it in the past. It was a pleasure to do so this past couple of weeks.
Biblical Preaching is a practical walk through the sermon preparation and delivery process. I particularly appreciated the tools and questions that Dr. Robinson provides for identifying the practical implication of a Bible text - often the most difficult step for me in the sermon preparation process. I also found identifying the three audiences for which the preacher must prepare his or her sermon helpful
- The original biblical audience for whom the biblical author was writing
- The current world in which the preacher lives
- The specific community in which the preacher lives
As these two examples illustrate, the book is full of practical advice. In addition to practical advice, the contains two chapters I did not expect to see. First is a complete sample sermon - fully evaluated using the tools and guides provided in the text. Second is a set of student exercises (40 pages worth) - with answers. The inclusion makes the book suitable for both the classroom student (though the instructor will need to develop his or her own exercises for grading) and for the self learner (who will need to evaluate his or her own work using the included answer key.)
As I mentioned earlier, I wished I had discovered Haddon Robinson’s work earlier - I am very glad I discovered it now.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.