Preaching the Whole Counsel of God: A Review

Around nine years ago I had the opportunity to take a preaching class from Julius Kim and now I have the opportunity to review his first book on homiletics: Preaching the Whole Counsel of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015). This book is a detailed introduction to preaching and also includes some helpful notes on interpreting Scripture. Basically, it’s an in-depth but concise resource for interpreting and preaching God’s Word.

The book has four main parts: 1) “Discovering the truth of the text according to the human author,” 2) “Discerning Christ in the text according to the divine author,” 3) “Designing the sermon according to truth, goodness, and beauty,” and 4) “Delivering the sermon for attention, retention, integration, and transformation.” In these chapters, Kim emphasizes prayer, serious textual study, a Christ-centered study and sermon emphasis, sermon structure, application, illustration, and delivery (just to name the main parts). I appreciate this book because it is balanced: Kim does a nice job of touching all the bases, so to speak. There are even two example sermons for the reader to study.

Although this book is under 250 pages, there is a lot of information between the covers! I appreciated the section on the design and delivery of the sermon, where Kim gave 12 points on how the brain hears, retains, and listens to speaking. For example, since studies (and experience!) have shown the brain can only retain so much, preachers should avoid preaching “fire-hose” sermons, where info gushes out like crazy. This material on neuroscience and hearing/listening was mostly new to me, so I found it quite interesting and helpful. Preachers do have to consider the listeners when they preach!

If you’ve read other preaching books, some of the parts of this book will be a review. This book, like most preaching books, talks about outline, structure, illustrations, application, and eye contact (for a few examples); even though I had read or heard some of this material before, I still appreciated going over it again.

Do you need a Reformed, Christ-centered, and detailed introduction to interpreting and preaching the Word? I recommend this one: Preaching the Whole Counsel of God by Julius Kim.

(NOTE: I received this book from the Amazon Vine review program, and was not compelled to write a positive review).

Shane Lems
Hammond WI

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