What is preaching? I knew this was going to be a good book when I read the first three words of Chapter 1. This book is the perfect reading for anyone who would ever consider standing behind a pulpit to Preach the Word. Whether you're an experienced preacher or a student, this book is for you. I've never read a book on preaching that I would recommend more highly than I do this one.
H.B. Charles takes us preachers back to the basics. He said, "Preaching is and has always been the distinguishing mark of the true church of Jesus Christ. Faithful preaching is the essential mark of the true church." He continues on to say, "Our preaching is not the reason the Word works. The Word is the reason our preaching works."
He deals with issues that every preacher faces, from frustration to planning to feeling unprepared to feelings of pride that say, "I nailed that one today." Mostly, the author brings us back to the basics. One example he used was of Charles Spurgeon. When told that all his sermons sounded alike, he said, "And so they should. First I take a text, and then I make a beeline for the cross."
There are thirty chapters in this book that deal with everything from Training, Study time, Praying, Scripture research, Outlines, Intros, Illustrations, Conclusions, to Preaching with Manuscripts and Preaching without Notes. He also delves into the Styles of Preaching, Plagiarism, Protecting your Voice, Being a Guest Preacher and more.
Overall, this book is a must have for any preacher. It is an amazing treasure of knowledge on what we know as the "foolishness" of preaching. As H.B. put it, "Nothing good could come out of my standing behind the pulpit without God's help...Without the work of the Holy Spirit to convince and convict, the sinful ear will dismiss the sermon as mere human opinion, rather than the Word of God." We preachers need all the help we can get. This book offers so much wonderful advice. One thing that stood out to me was the emphasis on the power and purity of God's Word. In Chapter 8, on Using Scripture in Preaching, the author said, "I do not believe we have to make the Word of God 'relevant.' It already is. Our preaching should make the relevance of Scripture clear. We should preach with the conviction that the Bible is given to us for our transformation, not just information."
I give this book a 5 out of 5. As a preacher, I absolutely loved it. It is an amazing resource that every preacher should have. Most importantly, it puts the emphasis back on preaching the Bible. I thank Moody Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.