Phillip Jensen: preaching is more than sermons

I was interested to read no lesser person than Phillip Jensen confirming that preaching is more than sermons …

What, then, is the essence of preaching? It is not related to the number of people we speak to, nor is it related to our ability to communicate. The essence of preaching is passing on the message as we have received it – that it what it means to speak the very oracles of God …

Sermons and preaching are not synonymous … Biblical preaching is about communicating God’s thoughts and not our own. And so we preach biblically whenever and wherever we declare the word of God to each other. In fact, sometimes there may even be more preaching happening over morning tea than from the pulpit, if dozens of conversations revolve around sharing God’s word of encouragement and rebuke with one another. Sermons, in other words, are a subset of a larger activity – the activity of proclaiming God’s word to one another, and from one generation to the next. Preaching is an activity that all are called on to perform.

It’s a quote from Jensen’s new book, written with Paul Grimmond, entitled The Archer and the Arrow: Preaching the Very Words of God which is published tomorrow (1 September). Ironically the rest of the book is on preparing and delivering sermons.

Available here from and


2 thoughts on “Phillip Jensen: preaching is more than sermons

  1. Or not so ironically, Tim. Pulpit preaching is the hallmark of Sydney Anglicanism. Whilst a good thing to affirm, it does make church very Churchy. In my context, a Baptist expression of Sydney Anglicanism, I see very few of the kinds of conversations after The Sermon that Phillip aludes to in the quote, I think in part because of this emphasis…

  2. Bibilical preaching is indeed sharing God’s words, not ours. However, it is difficult to accept the second element of the definition of preaching as set forward by Mr Jensen. Sharing and teaching God’s word is not the same as preaching. Biblical preaching is a specific task for those raised up by God to be preachers, not merely a ‘subset of a wider activity’.

    That does not mean that those of us who are not preachers can not share and teach the word of God informally.

    The Bible speaks very clearly about the specific roles of individuals within the church, including preachers. I would respectfully recommend those who buy this book, also buy ‘Preachers and Preaching’ by Dr Lloyd-Jones for a balanced view.

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