Thursday, May 15, 2008

Book Review: The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching

I recently completed The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting the Bible to People edited by Keith Willhite and Scott Gibson. This is an older book I found on a discount shelf and read through pretty quick. It is essentially a compliation of chapters by different authors all to honor Haddon Robinson, who is one of my favorite teachers. In Robinson’s book Biblical Preaching (a must read for all preachers), he puts forth an idea he calls “The Big Idea.” In short, the Big Idea is the one message the author of the text is communicating. With this concept, Robinson declares several things: we can truly know what a biblical text is communicating; every biblical text may have many applications but only one interpretation; when preaching a text, the pastor must bring out this meaning; and a host of other ideas. It is a revolutionary concept if one has not every thought in this manner before and in our post-modern society, there is a generation of people who have been taught that meaning resides in the reader and not in the text. Thus, Robinson’s principle of the Big Idea is a truly a big idea. Thus the title of the book of this review, The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching, is really a play on words about the concept found in Robinson’s book.

The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching declares the concept of the Big Idea as the best basis for preaching. It begins by revealing to the reader why it is the best way to preach. In short, the various authors say preaching with the Big Idea in mind helps the preacher keep sight of the one thought the biblical author is attempting to communicate with his audience. In doing this, the preacher can confidently declare, “thus saith the Lord.”

The next section of the book helps the bible student understand the Big Idea’s biblical and theological power. The authors do this by explaining how to find the Big Idea when navigating through the different genres of the Old and New Testament. The principles, examples, and outlines shared through this section were helpful and bring to light the importance of preaching what the text brings forth and not what one wants to make the text say.

The book concludes with some helpful chapters on how to communicate a message based on the concept of the Big Idea. They discuss issues like flow of thought, the use of illustrations in the message, and how preaching with passion makes a difference. Each of these topics are handled well and could be very useful to any preacher.

Overall, I think this book is a valuable encouragement for preachers even though it is a decade old. I also think that if one has not read it, Biblical Preaching should be read first. Biblical Preaching is a better “How To” book while The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching will help the bible student further refine the concept of the Big Idea and how to incorporate that into their sermons. It is also the kind of book that would be helpful to reread if one has not read it in a while. Useful to have on a pastor’s bookshelf.

2t22 Rating