Reflecting a concern that the church has neglected the faithful preaching of “the whole counsel of God’s Word,” the authors of Engaging Exposition offer an extended treatment of the various elements of studying a passage and then preparing an effective expository message on that biblical passage.
Akin is president of Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Rummage, a former preaching professor at Southeastern, is now senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla.; Curtis is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Darlington, South Carolina. The three write about preaching from the perspective of conservative evangelicals with a high view of biblical authority and inspiration.
The trio offer what it describes as a 3-D approach to the task of preaching. The first element of the process—and the first major section of the book—is “Discovery” (written by Curtis), which offers a thorough discussion of the hermeneutical process to be used in studying a passage and determining the key ideas of the passage.
The second D (written by Akin) is “Development,” which seeks to give preachers tools for making the move from passage to completed sermon, drawing on the biblical insights gained in the discovery process. Akin emphasizes the need to identify the main idea of the text—the MIT (his term for the central idea of the biblical passage)—and to build the sermon on the foundation of the MIT. This section of the book includes guidance in structuring messages, adding illustrations and application, and creating effective introductions and conclusions.
The final D (written by Rummage) is “Delivery,” which moves the preacher from the written sermon to the moment of actual delivery, using principles of effective speech communication. One of the strengths of this volume is that unlike so many preaching books it deals extensively with issues relating to sermonic delivery. Rummage offers readers practical counsel on the voice, the role of the body, visual elements of preaching and much more. This section alone makes the book worthwhile for most preachers.
Although written as a textbook for preaching classes, preaching ministers will find much of value in the book. The preacher who lacks strong training in hermeneutics will find the first section provides a helpful primer on the art of biblical interpretation. Akin offers many useful insights about developing effective biblical sermons, and Rummage’s material on delivery will be valuable for veteran preachers, as well as rookies. One bonus is Akin’s chapter on 20 common questions about preaching, in which he offers down-to-earth counsel about questions such as the time spent in preparing a message, the appropriate use of notes, sermon length and much more; these are the kinds of questions young preachers want to ask but often don’t for fear of looking inexperienced.
Engaging Exposition is a useful resource which will offer preachers helpful tools for studying a passage, developing a solid message from that passage, then delivering it effectively. That’s all a preacher can ask.