Book Review: Preaching That Pleases God by Tom Farrell

preachingI started reading this book the third week of September 2014 – the same week I attended a “Preach the Word” conference in Baltimore, Maryland. That conference, along with this book, has really challenged me concerning the preaching of the Word of God!

Outstanding, solid read! If I was teaching a college-level class on the subject of preaching, this would definitely make the list of textbooks for the students to read, study, and dissect.

It does not take long for one to realize that the author has done his homework concerning this book. Of course, his preaching ministry over the past thirty years only adds to his vast knowledge and wisdom concerning this topic. I love the humility of this author as he teaches all of the facets of preaching.

The material is very applicable but I also find it quite inspiring. Going back through the book, I found I had underlined over one-hundred sixty sentences, thoughts, or illustrations. The book has four parts:

1. The Commission for Preaching
2. The Comprehension of Preaching
3. The Construction of Preaching
4. The Communication of Preaching

Here are several items I really enjoyed about the book. First of all, the author makes points throughout the book in an alliterative fashion. Being a lover of words, I found it fascinating and could only imagine that he preaches in the same style.

Second, the wide variety from which the author gathered quotes, illustrations, and anecdotes continued to capture my attention throughout the book.

Third, an entire chapter was given concerning the public invitation at the end of the service. The author submits that the invitation is as much of a part of the preaching as the message is. However, what I found fascinating was that he set forth two differing viewpoints on the public invitation from well-known godly men of the past. He concludes with reasons he believes are Biblical for having a public invitation and pressing for decisions. It is just good to see a Bible-believer actually set forth opposing viewpoints and allow the reader to actually think for themselves.

Fourth, at the end of every chapter is an actual outline of the chapter just read. What a help to the student and another aid to help remember the truths set forth in that chapter!

Any preacher or teacher of the Word of God would learn much and do well to have this book in their library!

Some favorite quotes:

“The Bible was spoken by God to man so that man could speak for God to man.” p. 18

“The God-called preacher must be prepared and propelled to preach whether he is cheered or jeered, whether he is received or rejected, whether he is thrilled or threatened.”p. 23

“Fame, females, and finances have destroyed many a preacher of the Gospel.” p. 33

“Dynamic proclamation of the Word demands diligent preparation in the Word.” p. 41

“Meditation on a text is like the marinating of meat.” p. 79

“Normally the congregation will identify more quickly with a preacher’s weaknesses than with his strengths.” p. 80

“Take care not to impose your personal application of principles on your people. ‘Thus saith the preacher’ is not the same as ‘thus saith the Lord.’ ” p. 92

“Before you begin to preach, remind yourself that you have been living with your text for several days, but your audience has not. You cannot expect them to catch a moving train; you must invite and entice them to step on board while the train is stopped.” p. 106

“There are boring preachers, bearable preachers, and blessing preachers.” p. 109

“The Biblical preacher argues for both faith in God and faithfulness to God.” p. 126

“The fear of false fire may be the reason for little fire in many pulpits.” p. 171

“Preach for the throne, not the throng. Preach for Christ, not the crowd.” p. 190

“As preachers, we have no right to dilute, delete, diminish, or dumb down anything that God said.” p. 191

“Preach Hell hot and Heaven sweet. Make much of Jesus.” p. 198

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