I preach. I teach preaching. I’ve written a small book on preaching (out next year). I love listening to preaching. So you’d think I could easily answer the question: “What is preaching?”

Yet, when a friend asked me this on Saturday, at the Mid-Michigan Reformed Conference, I found it difficult to immediately come up with a comprehensive one-sentence answer. The best I came up with was: “Preaching is a passionate explanation of the text of Scripture, with a Christ-centered focus, to transform hearts and lives for the glory of God.”

I’m sure there are better definitions around. Any suggestions?

  • Pete Scribner

    I’m not quite as sure as you are that there are better definitions around… Thanks again!

  • Adam Kuehner

    My homiletics professor at RPTS, Dr. Dennis Prutow, requires all of his students to memorize the following catechism-style definition for preaching.Preaching is God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] communicating His truth in our world to people in the pew [for the purpose of converting sinners, sanctifying saints, and preparing people for heaven] through human instruments, in order to change their thinking, bridle their emotions, and alter their wills.

  • Caleb

    Just read this quote this morning: “What do we understand by preaching? It means divine truth through personality or the truth of God voiced by chosen personality to meet human needs.” Quoted at http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/627091647480.pdf

  • Adam Kuehner

    Of course, Dr. Prutow’s definition is somewhat long and doesn’t specifically mention the Scriptures … but I think it is a helpful contribution nonetheless.Personally, I think the word ‘earnest’ belongs in any comprehensive definition of preaching.

  • Craig Dyer

    It’s quite a challenge to get it into a sentence. I can’t improve on the succinctness of the original, but I guess if I was wanting to fill it out for clarification purposes it would be much less memorable but might be something like …Preaching is the direct, oral, propositional, transmission of God’s revealed truth (His Word the Bible) by someone who has been transformed by that truth and equipped by the Lord helpfully to explain and apply that truth, with due care, from it’s Biblical context to the lives of the hearers, so that preacher and hearer alike increasingly love, exalt and serve the living God.At least it’s one paragraph!

  • A. Th. van Olst

    A good defenition. Perhaps you can insert after explanation: ‘and application’.

  • Steve Hall

    Great quote. And great comments above! Here’s my attempt, using your quote as the template:Preaching is the heralding of God’s Word, which demands the explanation of the text from a Christ-centered focus, with the prayerful objective to transform hearts and lives for the glory of God.

  • James Hakim

    Preaching is when God uses a man’s heart and voice to produce a head-on collision between His Word and his hearers.(this answer is case-sensitive)

  • John Kuvakas

    Preaching is the clear, accurate and passionate explanation of the Holy Scriptures, empowered by the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of men.

  • proregno

    Explicatio et Applicatio verbi Dei !

  • MarkandKristi Olivero

    “Preaching is exposing the meaning within God’s Written Words by bringing it forward from its ancient context in a way that hearers sense God speaking to them now.”

  • Paul Laman

    “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” 1 Cor. 14:3 I would think that a fruitful Biblical ministry should regularly include all three of these elements.