Over the past five years, I’ve been in the enjoyable position to receive most, if not all of the latest and greatest Christian books. This position has offered me the opportunity to grow in my knowledge and understanding of a great deal topics. Since I was a teenager I’ve been interested in studying the history and how-to of preaching. This topic has fascinated me for a number of reasons. First, I began teaching the Bible as a teenager to other teenagers at my high school. Second, the more I taught, the more I realized that I needed to grow. Finally, while I’ve read over two dozen books on preaching and even been to seminary, I still find it amazing that I know so little about preaching. This makes me want to continue to grow as a preacher not only because of growing in my skill in preaching, and teaching the Bible, but also in my ability to clearly understand, and communicate the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus. It was for this, and several other reasons, when I heard about Unashamed Workmen How Expositors Prepare and Preach edited by Rhett Dodson, I was excited to learn and benefit from the wisdom and experience of men like Dodson, Iain Duguid, Ajith Fernando, David Jackman, Josh Moody, Douglas Sean O’Donnel, and Richard D. Phillips.
As you can tell the book has quite a few contributors all with vast amounts of experience preaching, and teaching the Word of God. In chapter one Peter Adam answers the question, “What is God’s word for these people?” exploring the idea that preaching is a God ordained means to help instruct the people of God. After each author finishes his initial chapter, the authors provide a sample sermon in full manuscript form. This helps the reader understand the ideas they’ve presented.
In chapter three, Dodson looks at the importance of emphasizing the details in one’s sermon preparation for the purpose of delivering sound expository sermons. This is an important idea and one that readers shouldn’t pass over. We need to do the hard work of studying, and exegeting the Scriptures while trusting the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word to us so that we can make much of Jesus. In chapter five Ian Duguid helps readers understand how to interpret the Old Testament. In chapter seven Ajith Fernando helps preachers and teachers of God’s Word understand the importance of sermon preparation.
David Jackman in chapter nine looks at “what seems odd” which may seem like a weird thing to do in a book on preaching. This is simply the practice of reading and rereading a passage in multiple translations jotting down on a piece “of paper, both the things that I find difficult about the text and the surprises I encounter. “Seems odd to me!” is one way of expressing these reactions to the text” (131). This is not a bad idea at all, and I can easily see how this would be of benefit to me, especially as I typically write out my notes on my laptop. Chapter eleven looks at finding the treasures in the text. In chapter thirteen David Meredith looks at the importance of planning, the process of sermon building, outlining the message and applying the Word. In chapter fifteen, Josh Moody looks at the hard work that goes into sermon preparation. Chapter sixteen calls preachers to pray throughout the sermon process. In the final chapter, Richard Phillips looks at how he prepares for a sermon.
Unashamed Workmen: How Expositors Prepare and Preach is an excellent book that will help young and seasoned preachers, preach the Word. Whether you’ve preached one sermon or several thousands, we all need to learn and grow. The best way to do that is to learn from those who are engaged in the work of preaching week in and week out, and from those who, though retired, from pastoral ministry desire to help preachers grow in their craft. Regardless of where you’re at in the preaching journey, this book has something for you. First, these seasoned expositors and preachers of the Word of God call preachers and teachers of God’s Word to His Word. That is no small thing since that is our charge which is so sadly being neglected today. Second, this book will help you to gain fresh insight into the mind of a preacher. This is especially important to those starting preaching. Such preachers need guidance and encouragement to continue on the path of preaching the whole counsel of God. Finally, you’ll gain insight and understanding into not only the mind of the preacher but the heart of these shepherds.
Preaching is not an information dump but has as its goal to see sinners saved by His grace, and the saints edified to the glory of God. Preaching the Word is no small task, it requires a love of God’s Word, His Church, and most importantly His people. Preaching requires care and love for people. Biblical preaching begins with a love for God and His Word with the goal of helping the reader see the truth of the text so their lives will be transformed through the preaching of the Word. This requires not only loving God, and the Word but the congregation, and the people in it. Such preaching is a powerful means God uses to awaken sinners to new life, and edify/equip the saints for His service. I highly recommend Unashamed Workmen. I believe this book will be a blessing to new and seasoned saints. Go pick up this book, I know I’ll be reading it again, and again.
Buy the book at Unashamed Workmen: How Expositors Prepare and Preach, WTS Books, or from Christian Focus.
Author: Edited by Rhett Dodson
Publisher: Christian Focus (2014)
I received this book for free from Christian Focus 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.”