Preaching with Purpose
The Urgent Task of Homiletics

Book Details

Discerning Reader Editorial Review

Reviewed 04/23/2009 by Paul Martin.

Recommended. Advocates a missing ingredient in modern preaching: purpose.

One problem I have observed with many books on preaching is a problem many of us preachers run into in our pulpits – we try to say everything about something, and end up saying nothing at all. Preaching is an enormous topic and to do it justice a great deal must be written – unless one chooses to deal with only one aspect of preaching.

Wisely narrowing his focus, Jay Adams has written a very helpful book on preaching with purpose. In essence, Adams has sought to demonstrate why it is we preach. I must admit to not being a huge fan of Adams’ writings. Perhaps that is why this book sat on my "to read" shelf for a few years before I finally picked it up. But once I began it was impossible to put it down.

The basic premise of the book is that the goal of preaching is to effect change. This may not sound terribly profound, but was that the purpose of your last sermon? Adams rightly observes that many preachers are abstract, wandering, dull, and pointless in the pulpit. People should be rightly asking, "Why do we come here and why do you talk?" And so, he begins a careful analysis of how to develop purpose to your preaching.

I will be the first to admit that I do not agree with every suggestion Adams makes (and "suggestion" may be too polite of a term to use), but even if we do not agree there is good discipline in having to answer why we don't. I think that is what I most appreciated about this little book: it forced me to answer the "why" questions again and again. It is unlikely anyone else will ask you.

Pick up this little book, read one of its 22 chapters every day, and you will see some spark and clarity added to your preaching - guaranteed!