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Preach: Theology Meets Practice (IX Marks) Paperback – 1 Apr 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (1 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433673177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433673177
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 867,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and president of 9Marks. He holds degrees from Duke University (B.A.), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.), The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Theol.), and Cambridge University (PH.D.).
Greg Gilbert is senior pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and the author of What Is the Gospel? He holds degrees from Yale University (B.A.) and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting book on preaching. Made up of theological reflections on preaching, practical guides to sermon preparation and sample sermons. Useful tool for those beginning to preach or are refreshing themselves in their preaching.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource for All Pastors 6 April 2012
By kman - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a Ph.D. student in preaching, I've read more preaching books than I care to count. This book by Dever & Gilbert is truly among the best that I've read. The subtitle says it all. The book masterfully blends theology and practice. Rather than each author write separate chapters, the book is presented like one author, but they will parenthetically note when discussing something solely related to Dever or Gilbert.

The most interesting parts of the book are the final two chapters, which include one sermon transcript from Gilbert and another from Dever. Mixed into the transcripts are dialogues between Gilbert and Dever as they critique one another's sermons.

This book is a must-have for any preacher.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great preaching book 12 Sept. 2012
By Joshua Reich - Published on
Format: Paperback
Last week I read through Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert's book on preaching called Preach: Theology Meets Practice. This was a great introduction into preaching, with some great insights for long time communicators.

One of the more helpful things in this book is how they walk through the practice after laying out the theology of preaching. The last part of interacting with each other's sermons is worth the price of the book alone.

Two things that challenged me was to continue planning in advanced the sermons I preach (right now at Revolution, we've sketched out sermons through 2015) and to wait on jumping into commentaries.

I appreciate the outline that they lay out in the book to use, I've always been partial to the way Andy Stanley outlines his sermons in Communicating for a Change. I find that way is more helpful for me.

I am glad that they laid out using one big idea instead of points. This brings more power and focus to a sermon and makes it more memorable to the listeners.

Here are some questions the authors say a pastor should answer in a sermon about a text:

1. How does the teaching in this point fit into the salvation-historical progression of the biblical story line?
2. What does this text say to the non-Christian?
3. What does it say to the larger society and to policy-makers?
4. What does it say about Jesus?
5. How does it apply to the individual Christian?
6. Does it say anything in particular about issues of work or family?
7. What does it say to my own local church?

The section on reviewing a sermon, giving and receiving godly and ungodly criticism is gold for preachers. One of the hardest things to do is review your sermon or get feedback on it that goes past, "That was amazing!"

Here are a few things I highlighted in the book:

-It's far easier to come up with a witty, biting criticism than to preach an entire sermon.
-Regardless of what people want or even think they need, the truth is that they need to hear the Word of God being opened and explained and applied to their hearts and wills. And that happens through expositional preaching.
-When God creates and gives life, He does so through His Word.
-It is the preached Word, it seems, which the Holy Spirit uses in a unique way to give life and ignite faith in a person's soul.
-Preaching is not finally a matter of giving a few thoughts here and there about God or the Bible. It is the proclamation of an authoritative message from the throne room of heaven itself: Be reconciled to God through Jesus!
-Expositional preaching is preaching in which the main point of the biblical text being considered becomes the main point of the sermon being preached.
-Exposing God's Word is the aim of every prophet and preacher of God in the Bible.
-Perhaps we as preachers should be more demanding of our listeners instead of "meeting them where they are" in their Internet-ravaged, television-shredded, 140-character-only, lopped-off-at-the-knees attention spans. That doesn't mean we should preach poor sermons and tell them they have to listen. But it does mean that perhaps we should teach the Christians God has placed under our care that they must work at listening to the sermon even as we work at preparing and preaching it.
-That's what God's Word does when it is preached. It gives life. It convicts, it encourages, it challenges, and it awakens faith.
-Abdication of leadership is as much leadership as godly initiative-taking.
-Christian preaching, though, has at its heart the desire to make a change, to say something the world does not hear from anywhere else and does not even want to hear. It's not that Christian preachers are looking for ways to be contrarian. It's that the message we have been given to preach is the countercultural, status quo challenging, and offensive declaration that the human race is in rebellion against our King, and that our choices are to be judged for that rebellion or to accept love and forgiveness from His hand.
-That's what God's Word does when it is preached. It gives life. It convicts, it encourages, it challenges, and it awakens faith.
-When we preach, we preach for change. We preach for effect. In everything--from the way we introduce our sermons, to the way we illustrate our points, to the way we bring everything down to the conclusion--we preach with the goal of spurring believers on in their maturity in Christ and of awakening nonbelievers to their need for the Savior. In a word, that answers that we preach with two main aims, to edify and to evangelize.
-In a word, that answers that we preach with two main aims, to edify and to evangelize.
-Your sermons should never be forty-five-minute morality lessons or best practices for living a better life. They should drive forward to the good news that King Jesus saves sinners through His life, death, and resurrection from the grave.
-Every sermon you preach, you should include at some point a clear and concise presentation of the gospel. Tell people how they may be saved! I never want someone to come to my church, not just for a length of time but even for one single service, and be able to say they didn't hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
-In preaching the first thing that you had to do was to demonstrate to the people that what you were going to do was very relevant and urgently important.
-The point isn't for your congregation to be able to recall, like human Google searches, every sentence or even every point you made. The point is for the Word to shape their hearts and minds and wills, and that can happen even if they don't remember the precise words or points you spoke.
-A good rule of thumb is to assume that everyone who ever hears you preach is both very intelligent and very uneducated. In other words, assume they have never been taught about the Christian faith, but that they are fully capable of benefiting from a solid explanation.
-If we truly understand God's grace, we'll never enter the pulpit thinking that we deserve to be there. Instead we'll know a deep sense of unworthiness before we bring God's Word, and a confirming sense of shame afterwards as we see how God uses His Word in people's lives, and as we consider how much better we're able to preach than to live.

If you preach on a regular basis or want to, this is a good book to pick up.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorite Books on Preaching 14 Oct. 2012
By Cole Brown - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been preaching every week for six years now. Consequently, I've read dozens of books on preaching both for my own growth and for the developing others in the church I pastor.

This is easily one of my two or three favorites and the one I first give to those who want to grow as preachers. For several reasons,

1) It deals with both the theology of preaching (why we do it) and the practice of preaching (how we do it)

2) It would be very easy to address these topics in a complex manner. Dever and Gilbert do not. They write profoundly but they write simply and concisely. As such, you need not be a seminary student (or even a college graduate) to make sense of the contents.

3) They don't just tell preachers how we might improve. They model it for us. The final section includes a sample of how they critique one anothers sermons in order to help each other grow. Our church has implemented a service review based on this model and we have matured significantly as a result.

4) It's funny. A lot of these sorts of books are anything but.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful 23 May 2012
By Thad Bergmeier - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love preaching. I love to preach and I love to listen to men preach. One of the men that I have come to really respect on the topic of preaching (or anything else relating to the church) is Mark Dever. Along with his friend, Greg Gilbert, they have put in print their view of preaching in a great book called Preach: Theology Meets Practice. This might not end up being the definitive book ever written on the subject of preaching. And I don't think they think it is. They do express at the beginning of the book three reasons why they think a book like this would be useful:

"First, we can see rising in the evangelical church a loss of confidence in the preached Word of God . . . Second, we see throughout much of the evangelical church a lack of confidence in biblical exposition . . . Third, we want to work against the bad name that even some expositional preachers have given to expositional preaching" (3-5).

The outcome of their efforts is a book that introduces the subject of preaching in an easy, simple to understand, manner. The book is divided into three parts: Theology, Practice, Sermon Transcripts.


In this section, they argue that we preach because God speaks. This is the foundation of our preaching. And the words that God speaks is really powerful. They go on to make this argument:

"If preaching is simply a way--one way among many--of ascertaining new knowledge about God and the Bible, then there are a myriad ways for a person to do that. Reading books, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and having conversations with other Christians all fill that bill. Similarly, if preaching is nothing more than one man doing a bit of public meditation on spiritual truths, then there are countless ways for people to get that benefit. Why not meditate on God's truth together, in a conversation, for instance? But if preaching really is the proclamation of God's life-giving, ex nihilo creating Word, then the stakes are raised considerably, and it's no longer a matter of preference whether we do it or not. It's literally a matter of life and death. The Bible presents the act of preaching as having just that sort of power and authority. It is the preached Word, it seems, which the Holy Spirit uses in a unique way to give life and ignite faith in a person's soul" (30-31).

From there, they argue that preaching should be expositional in nature. That doesn't mean to them that it must be word by word or text by text. But it does mean that God's Word is explained in an ordinary fashion. And that explanation of God's Word should be the focal point of the main worship service in the life of the church.


The second section of the book would not be helpful without the first. But once a person is convinced that preaching is central, then it is important to refine that skill. They begin by giving some advice on what to preach on. Their advice is to preach on the entire Bible, preach through books of the Bible, and to preach at different levels of the Bible (what they mean by that is sometimes to focus on the forest and sometimes to focus on tree). This was one thing that I learned from Dever when I attended The Weekender. He basically told us that pastors make picking something to preach too complicated. He has a system in place that helps him. He goes from different testaments and different genres of literature in a calculated manner. For instance, he will preach from OT Law and then to NT Gospels & Acts, then to OT Histories, then to Pauline Epistles, and so on.

The rest of this section was a helpful reminder. In the chapter on sermon preparation, I was convicted that I have been too reliant upon commentaries recently. I have a tendency to consult them before I have spent enough time in the text.

One other aspect of this section was how they encouraged preachers to have a good platform to have people help them review their sermons. They say doing this teaches people how "to give godly criticism, to receive godly criticism, to give godly encouragement, and to receive godly encouragement" (133).

Sermon Transcripts

In this last section, they illustrate how to give good sermon reviews. They give the full text of a two sermons (one by each of them) and show how they interact with each other as they are giving a review of their sermons. It was helpful to read their interaction to each other. And I see how this could be very helpful in the life of the church.

It does not matter if you want to preach, just started to preach, or are an experienced preacher, I think this book could be helpful to you. Pick it up, you never know what sort of jewel you might find that will help you become a better preacher.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Because God Speaks, We Preach" 15 May 2012
By Derek - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Because God speaks, we preach." The authors of this book do a great job of explaining why preaching is so important, and how God uses his Word to change lives. They also provide very practical advice on how to choose, prepare, and deliver a sermon. The last section contains two sermons--one by each author--features the two authors dialoguing back and forth about each sermon.

If you're a preacher called by God to communicate his message to his people, I highly recommend this book! I found myself feeling excited about preaching as I read this book!
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