Having the right tool for the job can mean the difference between a failed job and a successful job. Whether you are a wood worker, a mechanic, an electrician, or a preacher, we all need the right tools in order to get the job done.
So what are the primary tools in a preacher’s tool belt? I think we can all agree that our primary tools for sermon preparation are the Word and prayer. Nothing can take the place of leaning in on God, crying out for insight and understanding, and reading the text over and over and over again. It is here that God works with our own life experiences to shape our thoughts and heart to conform to the meaning of the text. Prayer and reading are first and foremost the most important tools of our trade.
With that as our foundation, we also know that the Spirit moves in many ways to open our eyes to God’s truth. One way that I have found to be a tremendous resource for sermon prep is through Crossway’s Preaching the Word series. This series, as stated by Crossway, is written “by pastors, for pastors and their churches.”
Preaching the Word Series is a set of commentaries designed to come alongside pastors and teachers in their sermon prep. The series is “known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.” Each volume is devoted to a book of the Bible or to several books depending on their length. The way each individual book is divided up into chapters is by sections in the text or pericopes. For example, the commentary on Romans is divided into 33 chapters, each representing a section of Scripture:
- Chapter 1: 1:1-7
- Chapter 2: 1:8-17
- Chapter 3: 1:18-25
- Chapter 4: 1:24-32; etc.
And then finally, the chapters read like “sermontaries” as David Allen puts it in his volume on 1-3 John. David tells us, “The sermons in this volume are what you might call ’sermontaries’ – more than a sermon but less than a commentary.”
I love and highly regard this series for a number of reasons. For one, this series is faithful to expositing the text in a biblical and accessible fashion. This volume is not designed to be a highly technical commentary of the text. There are plenty of great resources out there that meets that need. Also, this volume brings allegories, transitions, and applications that can encourage you and guide you in your sermon prep.
Walter C. Kaiser Jr. tells us, “It is a pleasure to commend this series of homiletical commentaries. They fill an enormous vacuum that exists between the practical needs of the pastor/teacher and the critical exegetical depth of most commentaries” (endorsement for Preaching the Word series).
It is with great joy that I recommend this series to you. It is thorough, well-written, informative and practical. It is one that I think you will use on a weekly basis as you pour over God’s word to understand the richness and the depth of the text and then work to find ways to communicate the text in practical and impactful ways.
Be sure to check out Crossway’s Preaching the Word series.