The Power of Biblical Preaching: An Expository Study of Jonah 3:1-10 -- By: Steven J. Lawson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 158:631 (Jul 2001)
Article: The Power of Biblical Preaching: An Expository Study of Jonah 3:1-10
Author: Steven J. Lawson

The Power of Biblical Preaching:
An Expository Study of Jonah 3:1-10*

Steven J. Lawson

[Steven J. Lawson is Senior Pastor, Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama.

* This is article two in a four-part series, “A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching.”]

Much of evangelical preaching has become strangely impotent and, sadly, too few realize it. Like Samson, from whom the Spirit departed without his knowing it, many pastors seem to have little awareness that God’s power has vanished from their once-dynamic pulpits. Rather than preaching with renewed fervor, they are preoccupied with pouring their energies into secondary strategies, such as pursuing the latest church-growth programs, alternative worship styles, and corporate marketing plans to build their churches. While some of these augmentations may have a place in the church, the crying need of the hour is for divine power to be restored to evangelical pulpits.1

At the heart of this crisis is a lost confidence in God’s power to use His Word. While many hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, some pastors do not seem convinced of its sufficiency when preached to bring about God’s desired results. They reason that biblical preaching is outdated, archaic, and irrelevant. In some churches drama, dialogue, film clips, and similar means are taking the place of solid Bible exposition. These are not necessarily bad in themselves, but expository preaching should never take a back seat to these secondary means of communication.

Pastors would do well to revisit the ministries of God’s servants

in the Scriptures and heed their examples as proclaimers of God’s Word. One man worthy of attention is the prophet Jonah.

One Man, One Message, One Method

The extraordinary results of Jonah’s preaching may be unique to his day, but not the manner in which he delivered his message.

Jonah went into a pagan culture, where people had little or no previous knowledge of biblical truth, and he gained a hearing from a scripturally illiterate people, something many today seem to think cannot happen. However, the fruit of Jonah’s ministry was unparalleled, as he saw the greatest positive response recorded anywhere in the Bible. Without entertainment or amusement and without a marketing scheme or an advertising campaign, Jonah simply preached. God’s strategy for reaching this entire culture was for His servant to preach.

Here is the remarkable account of one man (Jonah), equipped with one message (God’s), committed to one method ...

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