If you have dipped into a few preaching books on expository preaching, you would no doubt be referred on multiple times to Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching. So it was with great joy and anticipation when I found that I can finally read this book.
Robinson first begins the book by making a case and defense for expository preaching. Though it was certainty not the most water-tight argument for expository, it does the job sufficiently. I have no doubts no readers who picked this book would rather have this book begin by making a lengthy defense for expository preaching. Robinson however does make show why expository is important and what is, and is not expository preaching. Too often the term ‘expository preaching’ is abuse by preachers and writers to an extent that almost any kind of preaching can be termed as expository preaching, Robinson refuses to do that and states clearly what he is teaching and advocating. His definition can be summarise as ‘communicating biblical concepts…. through proper exegesis… with the Spirit’s help in the preacher’s life and applying it to the hearers’
Robinson then takes the readers step by step through what can be commonly found in other expository preaching books. Deriving the main idea from texts, building an outline, asking functional questions (this section is very good), making good application, things to take note during preaching, how to introduce the audience to the text and how to conclude it.
I found the section on functional questions was very helpful, basically, there are 3 kinds of questions you might have to answer in every sermon, explaining, proving or applying it. This section really plays an important role in preaching, after all, what else could you do in preaching other than addressing these 3 questions?
Along the way, Robinson gives the reader tips and advice on what younger preachers can learn to do early on in their lives (e.g. having an index for illustrations for future use). At each step, Robinson guides the readers slowly, showing the necessity of each of these steps and their importance.
What I found was most helpful was the student exercises included at the back of the book, these I think really help drive the point home each time after I finished reading the chapter. I highly recommended and advice future readers to do each exercise after you have finished reading that particular chapter. The exercises help to recap and also illustrates Robinson’s point. Many a times, while doing the exercises, I find myself having light bulbs lighting in my head, due to the lucidity of these exercises.
Finally, Robinson brings the readers through one sermon he’s prepared and shows the reader how each and every part of the sermon is based on what he has taught us in the sermon. It was a great idea to include this is and really does bring the flesh onto the skeleton that he’s been teaching about.
All in all, this is an excellent book on preaching, though, I’m a little sad that no word was said about topical preaching, this really is a minor drawback. It would be good to include some advice for preachers who might want/have to preach occasionally a topical sermon, but still remain a committed expository expositor.
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.