I have now read a grand total of two books on preaching and can certifiably say that I am no expert. One thing I can say is that what John Piper’s Supremacy of God in Preaching did for my own heart in terms of adding kindling to my fire for preaching, this book served as the fire pit, the match, the lighter fluid, the wood, and more. In other words, though Meyer’s work certainly provides its own “kindling” to the fire of preaching, it provides much more than that. It gives us the very foundations, paradigms, and tools for understanding the “fire” in the first place. In a word, I cannot think of how this book could have been more thorough and helpful in its discussion of preaching. The beauty of this book is that it brings the steward of the word to the dust while lifting high the excellencies of Christ in such a way that the reader feels loved and even rejoices in his position in the dust. We are servants and stewards of the High King!
It is difficult to identify just one highlight of the book, so I will go with two. First, Chapter 4 alone is worth the book’s weight in gold. Meyer states that it is the most important chapter in the book “because it is foundation for everything else” argued for in the book. I would go further than that and say that the chapter is foundational for everything else, period. Yes, this is a bit of an overstatement, but the way that Meyer walks through the biblical storyline is simply exhaustive and far-reaching. It is a beautiful depiction of the interlocking story of redemption, with Christ shining forth in his brilliance as the one on which all of the hope of the world rests. Secondly, the immensely practical nature of the book is quite refreshing. Parts 1, 3, and 4 are practical by nature. Part 5 is explicitly application in its entirety. But even Part 2, the part where most of the rigorous biblical theological work is displayed, is filled with practical illustrations and explicit application as Meyer closes almost every chapter with implications to the modern preacher and reader.
It is clear that I wholeheartedly agree with the thesis of the book. Not only because my heart was moved by it, but mostly because it was demonstrably biblical and Meyer strenuously shows his work. The skeptical reader might be tempted to say, at least early on in the book, that Meyer’s connection between modern preaching and the biblical theology of the ministry of the word is a loose one. But I would argue that the reader who combs through the treasure trove of Part 2 cannot walk away unconvinced of this connection. If there is any weakness to this work, it might be on the side of homiletics. My own tendencies lean into methods and step-by-step ways of doing things. But then again, this is explicitly not the aim of this book and methodology could possibly become a crutch on which a preacher begins to lean on instead of desperately clinging to God and the power of the Holy Spirit. In short, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. As I have already said, I cannot conceive of a more thoroughly biblical, heart-stirring, helpful, or practical book on preaching.