Preaching is a high and holy task as preachers have been called to preach the whole counsel of God and to make much of Jesus. That task alone is daunting and intimidating for even the strongest of preachers. When one combines that with the task of coming up with a sermon or message every week, they quickly discover why preaching and teaching is difficult. In his new book Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching, Dr. Alec Motyer, a well-known Bible expositor and teacher, takes us into his method of preaching and teaching. If you are widely read in preaching books, you will not learn anything new in this book; however, that isn’t necessarily bad as the best books take old ideas and present them in fresh ways. It is by this approach of taking the old and presenting it in a fresh manner that Dr. Moyer excels.
As I read this book, I felt like I was sitting in a class taught by Dr. Motyer. There were times I disagreed with him but the vast majority of the time as I was reading, I would find myself saying, “Amen”. The book spends four chapters talking about the importance of preaching and the growth of the preacher in the grace of God. His methodology of preaching is covered in chapters six through eleven with chapter twelve being a discussion on how the preacher should apply the teaching to his own life. Chapters thirteen and fourteen wrap up the book.
Recently I’ve been reading over every book I have in my office on preaching. When asked to review this book, I jumped at the opportunity because I’ve hear a lot of good things about Dr. Motyer from my friends. As I read this book, I realized that while I engage in much of Motyer’s methodology, for example, examining the text, analyzing it, orientating myself to the passage, harvesting it, presenting it and applying it, I still have a lot to learn about preaching and teaching the Word to the people of God.
One area where I struggle some in my own preaching and teaching of the Word is in the area of application. Dr. Moyter notes, “There are two factors to keep in mind, then, in bringing a sermon to an end: first, the task of creating and implementing a response is totally the work of the Holy Spirit and must be left to Him. But secondly, the statement of truth (the task granted to the preacher) includes the appeal of the truth. We are called to be faithful (to our task) and believing (in the Lord the Spirit). This calls for great sensitivity. It does not call for stopping short of the appeal which is any given text or passage is part of the truth of that passage – The Word of God not only teachers what is true but also how to respond to what is true” (109). I’ve longed believed and practiced in my own preaching and teaching the fact that the text of Scripture dictates how we appeal to our hearers. It is precisely for this reason that this book was so helpful because the preaching of the point of the passage means we will apply the point of the passage to two audiences: the people of God and those who are not yet the people of God.
While preachers and teachers will have quibbles with some of what Dr. Moyter says in this book, I think what they will find in this book is a gold mine of godly thoughts on how to do sermon prep, how to engage the Scriptures faithfully, and method to apply the Word of God to the believer and those who need the message of the gospel. Whether you are a relatively young preacher like myself or a seasoned preacher, Dr. Moyter, a seasoned professor and preacher of the Word has something for you. This fantastic book makes the task of preaching and teaching uncomplicated while making sure not to neglect the reality that preaching is a high and holy task. This simple but engaging book is practical theology at its best, a book rooted in the Word, exalting the Gospel and relying on the Holy Spirit to assist the preacher or teacher as they prepare and preach the Word. I recommend this book for both young and seasoned preachers, especially those who are preparing in seminary to preach the Word of God.
Authors: Alec Motyer
Publisher: Christian Focus (2013)
I received this for free from Christian Focus book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”