Book Review – Preaching by the Ear (30/11)

The best preaching is preaching that comes from the heart. That’s what this book is all about, preaching from the heart. Although preaching seems not to have changed much over the years, there has been one fundamental difference between preaching done today and preaching done eons before. And that difference is, the invention of the writing.Preaching by the Ear

Dave McClellan has written a book that helps preachers see the differences between preaching done today and preaching done in Jesus’s time. Essentially this book is a book that will help preachers think critically about our preaching today. McClellan points out many pointers that would have escaped the modern preacher due to the sheer magnitude of the influence of writing to us.

For example, McClellan points out that prior to writing, words, speeches were always considered to be temporary and transient as compared to the written word now, which can be compared, edited, reference long after the “speech” has been spoken.

This has practical applications to preachers who has always been drilled and trained to think about crafting a sermon, by typing or drafting a long “speech” that one has to reads off. McClellan points out that in an era before writing, preaching would have never been done this way, rather preaching would necessarily be extemporaneous. The difference between the two would be evident to the hearers, the one who preaches extemporaneously would not expect the listeners to be able remember every word that was preached and thus come out with hooks to help readers remember the progression and the flow of the speech. “Preaching” a typed sermon, no matter how well written still suffers from the problem that it never sounds like conversations but rather as messages typed out.

From here, McClellan proposed how to help preachers preach extemporaneously, he emphasis the importance of being marinated in the word of God, not just because one has to preach on the text in the coming week, but rather the preacher ought always be found thoroughly soaked in the Word of God. Next, he also helps preachers make the task of preaching easier by showing them that the burden of what and how to preach it, never lies on the preach, rather it rests on the Word of the Lord, and preachers just have to preach what it was originally preaching about. Finally, he advises preachers with a technique to help preachers slowly be able to preach and link the sermon in a way that preachers can eventually to be able to preach without notes.

This is unlike any preaching books I’ve read so far, and it has been very insightful and has made me aware to be a more “verbal” preacher and to preach in such a way that would really sound like preaching. McClellan also redeems the problem of how should I preach this or that, by simply letting the text speak for itself. A very helpful and insightful book for preachers, and should be recommended for preachers young or old.

Rating: 4.75 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s a introduction on the book by the author.

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