Preaching is rightly dividing the Word of God with a view to persuasion – a balance of all things that make a preacher one who is persuasive.
In 1941, J. Harwood Patterson defined preaching:
Preaching is the spoken communication of divine truth with a view to persuasion.
Patterson explained his definition had three aspects:
- THE MATTER: divine truth | what to preach
- THE MANNER: spoken | how to preach
- THE PURPOSE: persuasion |why we preach
Patterson modeled after Guthrie’s Three P’s:
Preaching must be more than a lecture or a talk. A sermon must tell us how to live and convince us to act appropriately. Daniel Webster said,
I do not go to church to learn history, but to be reminded of duty.
Preaching must be greater than philosophical pondering out loud. The preacher is a messenger who delivers the Word of God to his flock, not intellectual doubt, not speculation, not negativity, but a confident statement of God’s expectations.
To me, a sermon is no sermon in which I cannot hear the heart beat.
It is no light thing to speak before men in the place of God.
…just because the ocean is so vast and his vessel so small, no sailor should attempt to compass his tack in one voyage.
The Preacher’s Vital Relationship With God
The preacher, as a man of God, must thoughtfully embrace the meaning of salvation, must know what is involved, what a personal relationship with Christ is.
The preacher must be in a place with God where he has sensed the Holy Spirit bearing witness with his spirit so he knows he has His touch on his own life. The preacher must experience what he is saying.
The preacher must have had that message touch his own life – the message has been practical to him. The minister must have a high degree of honesty in applying the Truth that God gives to his own life and family.
The Preacher’s Vital Relationship With the Human Race
The preacher, as a man of his times, to be effective, must always be a learner. Read, watch, see. Know the news. Don’t bottle yourself up in as study. Know your community and your congregation.
The preacher must know the times, the issues, and the people in order to learn fresh themes, discern proper doctrinal emphasis, apply proper illustrations and pertinent applications.
The preacher should be the most knowledgeable person in the community. Read a reputable news source. Invest 30 minutes each evening listening to the local news. Spend 2-3 days a week rubbing shoulders with people in the marketplace.