What Is Preaching?

Some thoughts on what preaching is, how it operates, and what makes it good (or bad):

“It is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself; and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men into an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may dwell in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God)

“What you are after... is not that folk shall say at the end of it all, 'What an excellent sermon!' That is a measured failure. You are there to have them say, when it is over, 'What a great God!' It is something for men not to have been in your presence but in His.” (Paul Scherer, For We Have This Treasure)

“Our worship is poor because our knowledge of God is poor, and our knowledge of God is poor because our preaching is poor. But when the Word of God is expounded in its fullness, and the congregation begin to glimpse the glory of the living God, they bow down in solemn awe and joyful wonder before his throne. It is preaching which accomplishes this, the proclamation of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. That is why preaching is unique and irreplaceable.” (John Stott, Between Two Worlds)

“What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence. …I can forgive a man for a bad sermon, I can forgive the preacher almost anything if he gives me a sense of God, if he gives me something for my soul, if he gives me the sense that, though he is inadequate himself, he is handling something which is very great and very glorious, if he gives me some dim glimpse of the majesty and the glory of God, the love of Christ my Savior, and the magnificence of the Gospel. If he does that I am his debtor, and I am profoundly grateful to him.” (D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers)