John Stott on Preaching

In The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching, John Stott defines biblical exposition as "open[ing] up the inspired text with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God's voice is heard and his people obey him."[1]

Stott's article goes on to explain his definition. The bible is inspired and yet needs someone called by God to interpret it. The preacher is called to be sensitive to both the ancient text and to the modern listener. In preaching God's voice is heard and challenges people to respond.

He proceeds to address this question—How should we respond? Here is his answer:
  • If God speaks to us about himself and his own glorious greatness, we respond by humbling ourselves before him in worship.
  • If God speaks about us—our waywardness, fickleness, and guilt—then we respond in penitence and confession.
  • If he speaks to us about Jesus Christ and the glory of his person and work, we respond in faith, laying hold on this savior.
  • If he speaks to us about his promises, we determine to inherit them.
  • If he speaks about his commandments, we determine to obey them.
  • If he speaks to us about the outside world and its colossal spiritual and material need, then we respond as his compassion rises within us to take the gospel throughout the world, to feed the hungry, and to care for the poor.
  • If he speaks to us about the future, about the coming of Christ and the glory that will follow, then our hope is kindled and we resolve to be holy and busy until he comes.


[1] John Stott, "A Definition of Biblical Preaching," in The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching, ed. Haddon Robinson and Craig Larson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 24-29.

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