This is a book review by one of our 2nd-year apprentices, Grace Njeri. Grace has been serving in the office for the two years helping in the admin office. She does accounting and is passionate about music.
Expositional Preaching: How we speak God’s Word Today has been written by David Helm. David is Executive Director of the Charles Simeon Trust, serves as lead pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, and is a member of The Gospel Coalition Council.
This book draws back the importance of expositional preaching. Helm starts by identifying why we need expositional preaching and says that it is to humble the sinner, exalt the savior and promote holiness. He gives practical ways on how to go about expositional preaching and divides these into three practical steps which include contextualization, exegesis and theological reflection.
Contextualization is trying to relate to how the portion of scripture affects us as per now. Exegesis is in terms of how the portion of scripture related to the people then when it was written. Lastly, Theological reflection is about how it relates to God’s plan for redemption.
The book has been well structured which makes it easy to follow through. David identifies the different kinds of preaching. First, the impressionistic preaching which goes directly to applying a specific portion of scripture without regarding the historical facts about the passage. Secondly, the inebriated preaching where we use the Bible to support our ideologies. Lastly, the inspired preaching whereby a person focuses on the divine authorship of God’s word. He or she ignores the analytical way of approaching a text bringing about the popular phrases like ‘fresh word’ of God and ‘I heard from God’.
These kinds of preachers, Helm says, need to deal with this kind of preaching by getting the text right and learn how to get it across. And then the preacher should be able to connect how the portion of Scripture connects to God’s plan for salvation. David says, “Some preachers use the Bible in the way a drunk uses a lamppost—more for support than for illumination.”
The book is short and punchy and reminds us of what really matters in our preaching. Helm makes his principal point passionately and convincingly: through faithful expositional preaching, we can speak God’s Word today. It is a good guide with biblical and practical ways of doing expositional preaching.
I highly recommend it to young preachers for their learning of how to speak God’s Word but also to the seasoned preachers who might be tempted to think they’ve got everything right to be helped in ways they might have allowed bad habits to creep into their preaching. It will be helpful to those starting out to find ways to preach and those experienced to long to do it better.