Neil Powell in his blog a faith to live by helpfully distinguishes three strands to powerful biblical preaching, under these three names:
- Biblical preaching is preaching that is faithful to the text.The key issue is what does this text say?
- Gospel centred preaching has the focus of showing how this text speaks of Jesus Christ, wherever it is drawn from in Scripture. The key issue is now what does this text say about Jesus Christ?
- Gospel driven preaching looks to the Gospel to enable us to obey the text. Remember that the Gospel is a message of grace, but if our sermon says, ‘try harder!’ or some variation on that theme, we preach law. Gospel Powered Preaching asks how the Gospel enables us to become the people God wants us to be. The Gospel is the enabling part of the application. The key issue now becomes, ‘what does this text say about Jesus Christ so that he may enable me to glorify God?’.
Some resources for each focus include:
- In the UK we have the Proclamation Trust to thank for training in biblical preaching. Worldwide there are movements such as Langham Preaching among many others.
- The Biblical Theology that fuels Gospel-centred preaching came to us most recently via Graeme Goldsworthy Preaching the whole Bible as Christian Scripture, popularised by many others such as Vaughan Roberts’ God’s Big Picture. In North America we should mention such as Sydney Greidanus The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text and Bryan Chapell Christ-Centered Preaching. (to be reviewed in a later post)
- Tim Keller is the person who has done most to bring Gospel Powered Preaching application to my notice and I look forward to deepening my aptitude in delivering this to the people I serve.