Preaching That Comes Alive
Delivering a Word from the Lord
People go to church every Sunday hoping to hear a life-giving word from the Lord but often find that they have to make do with either the dry crust of cognitive sermons or the empty calories of emotional exhortations. This book provides preachers with the tools to feed their flock with hearty sustenance.
Using real-life sermon examples from across Asia that reflect issues facing Asian Christians, Maggie Low builds a picture of a sermon as a body, taking you step-by-step through guidelines for what this body needs to come alive. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced preacher, you will learn to preach more confidently and relevantly through this skillful integration of biblical theology, homiletical theory, spirituality, and communication skills.
Preaching cannot deliver life unless preachers themselves listen to the Word of Life. Dr Low guides the reader to exegete the Scriptures and to listen to God personally so that they can deliver a life-giving word to the hearers.
An excellent introduction to the science and art of preaching. Thank you, Dr Low!
Rev Gordon Wong, PhD
President, Trinity Annual Conference,
The Methodist Church in Singapore
This is more than a how-to book on preaching; it is preaching itself!
Rev Simon Chan, PhD
Editor, Asia Journal of Theology
Maggie Low is the preaching mentor you always hoped to find.
Editor, Preach Magazine
Blending experience of the classroom and the pulpit, brimming with worked examples, and rooted in her own Singaporean context, this is warmly commended for all those seeking to bring to people a life-giving word from the Lord.
Antony Billington, PhD
Head of Theology,
London Institute for Contemporary Christianity
Here is a treasure trove of helpful homiletical insights for all who preach God’s Word.
Rev Mark Chan, PhD
Director, Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia
Rooted in Scripture, practiced in a community of preachers and welling from a deep sense of personal calling, Maggie Low’s Preaching That Comes Alive is an important contribution to the ongoing conversations and reflections on what effective preaching may mean today.
Rev Canon Terry Wong
The Anglican Diocese of Singapore
Dr Low’s treatise on the homiletic discipline is a delightful smorgasbord of theological reflection and practical delineation. A timely book which will prove indispensable for both aspiring and seasoned preachers alike.
Rt Rev Steven Gan, DMin
Synod Moderator, The Presbyterian Church in Singapore
I wish this helpful book had been available when I studied homiletics at theological school. It is a delightful resource for learning and growing in the preaching ministry.
Rev John Lin
Dean of Vietnam, The Anglican Diocese of Singapore
Table of Contents
- Part I: Foundations for Preaching
- 1 The Call to Preach: Biblical Foundation
- 1. Preaching as Heralding (kerysso and euangelizo)
- Euangelizo (Bringing Good News)
- The Result of Kerysso and Euangelizo
- 2. Preaching as Teaching (didasko)
- 3. Preaching as Exhorting (parakaleo)
- 4. Preaching as Witnessing (martyreo)
- 5. A Framework for Preaching
- 2 The Crux of Preaching: Homiletical Foundation
- A. Why Have “A Word from the Lord”?
- 1. Purpose of Preaching
- 2. Rhetoric of Preaching
- B. How to Formulate “A Word from the Lord”
- 1. Haddon Robinson
- 2. Paul Scott Wilson
- 3. Bryan Chapell
- 4. Fred Craddock, Thomas Long, and Stephen Farris
- 3 Seeing the Bones: Exegetical Foundation
- 1. Determine the Limits of the Text
- 2. Dig Up the Historical Context of the Text
- 3. Delineate the Literary Context of the Text
- 4. Discern Genre, Form, and Structure
- 5. Dissect the Syntax and Grammar
- 6. Define Key Words
- 7. Discuss Biblical Theology
- 4 The Heart of Preaching: Lectio Divina
- A. The God Who Speaks
- 1. Through the Old and New Testaments
- 2. Through Church History
- 5 Shaping the Skeleton I: Deductive Forms
- A. Why Deductive Forms?
- B. How to Shape Deductive Forms
- 1. Write the Main Points in Complete Sentences
- 2. Connect the Main Points to the Word from the Lord
- 3. Connect the Main Points to Each Other
- 4. Connect the Main Points to the Hearers
- 6 Shaping the Skeleton II: Inductive Forms
- A. Why Inductive Forms?
- B. How to Shape Inductive Forms
- 1. Inductive Propositional Forms
- 2. Inductive Narrative Forms
- 7 Shaping the Skeleton III: Textual Forms
- A. Why Textual Forms?
- B. How to Shape Textual Forms
- 1. Prophetic Literature
- 2. Apocalyptic Literature
- 3. Psalms
- 4. Epistles
- 8 The Digestive System: Explanations (What?)
- A. Why Explain?
- B. How to Explain?
- 1. Explain the Problematic
- 2. Explain the Passage
- 3. Explain to the People
- 4. Explain the Perspectives
- C. Concluding Examples
- 9 The Nervous System: Illustrations (Really?)
- A. Why Illustrations?
- 1. Prove by Facts
- 2. Persuade by Examples
- B. How to Tell Illustrations?
- 1. Tell It Relevantly to the Text
- 2. Tell it Relevantly to the People
- 3. Tell It Relevantly to the Illustration
- C. Where to Find Illustrations?
- 1. The World Within: Personal Experience
- 2. The World Around: Popular Culture
- 3. The World Behind: History
- 4. The World of Nature
- 5. The World Online
- 10 The Muscular System: Applications (So?)
- A. Why Apply?
- B. Who to Apply To?
- C. What to Apply?
- 1. Apply to the Congregant
- 2. Apply to the Church
- 3. Apply to the Community
- D. How to Apply?
- 1. Apply to Specific People
- 2. Apply in Specific Situations
- 3. Apply through Specific Actions
- 4. Apply with Suitable Motivations
- E. An Example
- 11 The Head: Introduction
- A. Why Introduction?
- B. How to Introduce
- 1. Make It Relevant to the Central Word
- 2. Make It Relevant to the Contemporary Context
- 3. Make It Relevant to the Congregation
- C. Examples
- Worked Example
- Practice Example
- 12 The Feet: Conclusion
- A. Why Conclude?
- 1. Recall the Word of the Lord
- 2. Call to Respond
- B. How to Conclude
- 1. Tell an Illustration
- 2. Give Directions
- 3. Inspire a Vision
- 4. Extend an Invitation
- 13 The Ligaments: Transitions
- A. Why Transition?
- B. How to Transition?
- 1. Reason for Connections
- 2. Raise Questions
- 3. Review and Preview
- 4. Repeat the Central Word
- C. An Example
- 14 The Ears: Oral Style
- A. Why Words?
- B. How to Use Words?
- 1. Be Plain
- 2. Be Poetic
- 3. Be Personal
- 4. Be Powerful
- C. An Example
- 15 Eyes and Voice: Delivery
- A. Why Deliver?
- B. How to Deliver?
- 1. Deliver with Your Eyes
- 2. Deliver with Your Voice
- 3. Deliver with Your Heart
- Pre-Sermon Prayer
- Post-Sermon Prayer