Finding helpful books on preaching can be challenging because there is no shortage of books on the subject. There are lots of books claiming to offer “secrets” to preaching, including the “secret to preaching without notes,” which I’ve written about before (full disclosure: there is no secret). There are also lots of books talking about the proper type of sermons (expository vs. textual vs. topical) and there are lots of books on the changing type of audience that postmodernism presents.
But which ones are helpful? And which ones are true? After taking a number of classes on homiletics (the study of sermons), I’m convinced that there are more unhelpful or no longer relevant books on the subject of preaching than those that are helpful, but perhaps that’s because I’m a homiletics snob (ha ha!).
Since I’m constantly looking for books I recommend to other would-be preachers, I was happy to read Randal E. Pelton’s new book, Preaching with Accuracy: Finding Christ-Centered Big Ideas for Biblical Preaching.
Preaching with Accuracy is not a homiletics manual. As the subtitle suggests, Pelton’s book is focused more on developing the skills and an awareness of what preachers refer to as the “big idea,” especially in relation to “Christ-centered” sermons.
Pelton’s book is extremely successful in this aim. Preaching with Accuracy helps readers become aware of the “big picture,” or, as I like to say, the “biblical theological” approach that takes the finished canon serious. As soon as Pelton suggested the inter-connectedness of the “small ideas” with the “big ideas,” he was speaking one of my love languages.
What I enjoy about Preaching with Accuracy is that it combines homiletic insights with an eye on exposition tied to exegesis and hermeneutics. Readers walk away with a good introduction to the relevant issues connected with reading Scripture, interpreting Scripture, applying Scripture and, as can be expected, preaching Scripture. Moreover, these issues are explained through his christological lens, reminding me of a Barthian approach of “Christ-centeredness.” Of course, I love that.
Full of diagrams, figures, and other “eye candy,” Preaching with Accuracy is a great book to have up-and-coming Bible interpreters, who intend on communication the powerful message of Scripture, read as part of their training. This seems especially helpful in light of Paul’s encouragement to correctly teach Scripture (2 Tim. 2:15).