Blog Posts on Preaching & Teaching

Learning from Lincoln’s Compelling Precision

Jonathan Parnell
Learning from Lincoln’s Compelling Precision

On November 19, 1863 — 150 years ago today — a tall, stressed out man from Illinois stood up to deliver 269 words that changed a country. It took him only two minutes.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, gave his Gettysburg Address, one of the most legendary speeches in American history, undoubtedly spoken into the most tumultuous period of a then “new nation conceived in Liberty.”

The Civil War had stretched three long years, claiming... Continue Reading

Preachers, Find Your Voice

David Mathis
Preachers, Find Your Voice

Christian preaching is not parroting.

As desirable as it is to copy a skilled communicator, and as unavoidable as it is to imitate those who have shaped us most, there is good reason for a preacher to find his own voice. Not vanity, but being true to what Christian preaching is.

Before it is heralding a message, preaching means first and foremost stewarding a message. Before we “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), we should be devoted and unashamed students, “rightly handling the word... Continue Reading

How to Be Interesting and Unhelpful

John Piper
How to Be Interesting and Unhelpful

The point of this little exhortation is that, in handling the Scriptures, sanctification and speculation rise and fall in inverse proportion. As speculation increases, sanctification decreases. The more guessing the less blessing.

Few people would give their life for a speculation. Few will gouge out an eye or cut off a hand, because of a guess. Suppositions make weak expositions.

Here’s the sort of thing I have in mind.

Preachers, teachers, and Bible study leaders are... Continue Reading

Entertaining Pulpits and the Legacy of “Tethered Preaching”

David Mathis
Entertaining Pulpits and the Legacy of “Tethered Preaching”

Initially, it may be tough to tell the difference. A gifted Bible-expositor and an entertainment-oriented preacher, with a penchant for garnishing his ideas with some Bible, may not demonstrate much disparity at first.

But give it some time. And check the congregation over the long haul. It will make a world of difference.

Tethered to the Bible

John Piper coins a term in his short article “In Honor of Tethered Preaching: John Calvin and the... Continue Reading

John Piper’s Gestures

Tony Reinke
John Piper’s Gestures

John Piper’s preaching gestures are quickly becoming legendary. There’s now a whole website dedicated to animated clips of his best preaching gestures. So this week we asked Pastor John two gesture questions.

In episode 49, we asked him about when he started using them in the pulpit.

It is possible to leap and wave and holler and entertain and say nothing and be useless. And I don’t want to do that. Therefore gestures in my mind are not of the essence of the demonstration of the Spirit... Continue Reading

Dude, Watch Your Jargon

Jonathan Parnell
Dude, Watch Your Jargon

Here we go again.

Have you ever thought that at the beginning of a story you’ve heard several times before? Once the person starts talking you know exactly where they’re going. You’ve heard it before. You get it. Here we go again.

It’s interesting how this sort of thing especially happens in marriage. Husbands and wives do a lot of talking and before long they know each other’s best stuff. What might be the first time we tell our story to friends could be (or feel like) the hundredth... Continue Reading

What You Teach Really, Really Matters

Jon Bloom

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Do you have a communication gifting? Have others commented on how well you speak or write? Do you find yourself dreaming about using your gifts in ministry? Wonderful! We are praying for more herald-labors in the gospel harvest (Matthew 9:38). Consider it strongly.

But as you consider, consider this:

Not many of you should... Continue Reading

Beware of Elevated Vagueness

John Piper
Beware of Elevated Vagueness

The term “elevated vagueness” caught my eye.

It was in a tweet by Fred Sanders linking to his article about F. W. Robertson, a 19th century British preacher. Even before I read the article I could smell the rot. Robertson, it has been discovered, was covering his sexual affair in private while covering the truth in the pulpit.

That is not surprising. There is a connection between skilled vagueness and concealed immorality. Why else would a man use great gifts to make things... Continue Reading

Soaked with the Blood of Jesus, Singed with the Fire of Hell

David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell

Gospel preaching is a serious endeavor. And the mantle of preaching isn't to be worn flippantly.

Because God is God, and the Bible is his word, the heralding and exposition of that word is central to the corporate life of his redeemed people. In his message at the inaugural Together for the Gospel Conference, John Piper explains why.

God did not ordain the cross of Christ or create the lake of fire3in order to communicate the insignificance of... Continue Reading

Reading Literature

Tony Reinke

In an article written several decades back, Pastor John explained the value of reading richly descriptive literature to develop a vibrant language of theology. He encourages theology students to sometimes pick up great literature and poets like Wordsworth to catch their descriptive sensibilities. He wrote this in his article "The Poverty of Theological Vocabulary" (1970):

There is an intimate relationship between our power to enjoy a sensuous experience and our capacity to describe it... Continue Reading