The Biblical Basis For Christian Preaching -- By: Dennis Phelps

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 06:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: The Biblical Basis For Christian Preaching
Author: Dennis Phelps

The Biblical Basis For Christian Preaching

Dennis Phelps

Dr. Dennis Phelps is Professor of Preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he occupies the J. D. Grey Chair of Preaching.


What is the basis for preaching as one of the primary expressions of the Christian faith both inside and outside of the Church? Is preaching only a cultural aspect leftover from the earliest days of the struggling, persecuted Church, or is there a legitimate and biblical basis for the Church to continue to utilize preaching as an expression of her faith?

The thesis of this paper is that a biblical basis exists for Christian preaching. This thesis will be defended by utilizing a bifocal approach in examining the above questions. The first (and major) part will focus on the biblical basis of Christian preaching as a method of communication and instruction. The second part will focus on the biblical basis of the content of Christian preaching.

Phillips Brooks’s concept of preaching as the communication of divine truth through human personality to other persons will be the operative definition used throughout this paper.1 The traditional Protestant canon will serve as the primary source. The method employed will be a survey of the biblical materials in the canon related to preaching. Use of both the Old Testament (O.T.) and New Testament (N.T.) reflects two of the three sources for the development of Christian preaching, Hebrew religion and the Christian gospel (the third source being ancient oratory).2 The Bible’s authority for guidance in matters of faith and practice is presupposed. A secondary purpose of this paper is to provide a biblical basis and introduction to a study of the history of Christian preaching across the centuries.

John R. W. Stott began the opening chapter of Between Two Worlds with the assertion, “Preaching is indispensable to Christianity. Without preaching a necessary part of its [Christianity’s] authenticity has been lost.3 Assuming this intimacy does indeed exist, what

is the foundation? This section explores four biblical bases for the intimacy between Christianity and preaching as a method of Christian communication and instruction.

The Historical Basis

O.T. Antecedents

In the Genesis record God is described as speaking creation into existence.4 Shortly after mankind’s creation he is entrusted with t...

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