For a complete Table of Contents for this Journal, click here.
By Jonathan Leeman
We create with hands, shovels, and bulldozers. But not God. God creates by speaking. He says, “Be,” and it is. The Psalmist exclaims, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (Ps. 33:6). Invisible words create visible matter.
Just as God created the universe with words, so he re-creates fallen hearts with words. He “gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17).
Nuclear bombs might split or fuse atoms. But they cannot create new-heart atoms out of nothing. Preaching the Bible can, which is why preaching the Bible is central to the life of our churches. Peter says we have been born again through the living and enduring word of God. James says that God brought us forth by the word of truth. Paul teaches that faith comes from hearing. And the apostles learned it from Jesus, who said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
The preaching which possesses this greater-than-nuclear power is preaching that exposes the Bible, or expositional preaching. Man’s wisdom does not give new life. God’s Word, accompanied by God’s Spirit, does. It possesses divine power to demolish strongholds and explode hearts of stone.
The present 9Marks Journal lays out some of the basics of expositional preaching as well as a few of the mechanics. If you happen to think that applying the text is the work of the Holy Spirit, start with Michael Lawrence’s piece. There’s a difference between a preacher’s application and the Spirit’s conviction, he says. Preaching that doesn’t apply the text is not preaching, and the ability to apply the text depends on your knowledge of your church. Jared Wilson and Erin Wheeler will help you here.
So critical is the topic of preaching that it’s hard to do it justice (see Matt McCullough’s piece on this). But we hope this Journal educates and edifies. Use it and then entrust it to faithful young men who will be able to teach others also!