Effective Preaching

practice what you preach


This study is for equipping the minister for ministering the Word. We will entitle this study, Effective Preaching.

If the minister expects to have success at winning souls to God, and equipping the saints to live a Christ-like life, he must preach the word of the Lord. We need an increase in the use of the Bible in preaching. It is the authority that backs our preaching. It voices the everlasting messages of the world’s hope. Many a minister sends his people away with a feeling that they have heard him, more than they have heard from God. When people, with receptive hearts, discover that your words are God’s words, not the words of man, they will rejoice when they hear you.

Now I’m not saying that you cannot successfully fill a large church by not having Bible preaching. Having a very large Church is not a sure sign that the Bible is being preached there. The Apostle Paul says that, “the time will come that they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Paul is saying that to some people the truth of God’s word is intolerable. And so they will flock to some teacher, or preacher who will flatter the pride of human nature, and not lay too great a stress upon the importance of a holy life, or obedience to the ordinances of the scripture such as repentance, baptism, and a Spirit-filled life.

Paul laid great stress upon preaching from the Bible.

2 Timothy 4:1. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom;

2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

The object of the Apostle is to impart to Timothy a solemn sense of responsibility of his ministry. All preachers must one day give an account of their stewardship. Such a thought ought to stimulate them into greater faithfulness. Their responsibility is to God, who is a witness of their work, and the ultimate judge of it’s worth at his second coming.

“Preach the word;” His first and pre-eminent duty is to preach the Gospel, because “It is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The highest order of business of the preacher is to “preach the word.” Timothy had not to create a gospel but to preach one, and the “word” is broad and vast enough for any preacher. Nothing else will fortify and sustain the Christian against the trials of life except Bible preaching.

“Be instant in season, out of season;” He was to be ready for every opportunity of preaching. He was to have his stated season for preaching (Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, etc.) so that men might know when they can hear the word; but he is also to preach beyond the stated season.

The preacher must have a sense of urgency in every part of his work. He must create opportunities where he cannot find them; he must work at times both convenient and inconvenient to himself; he must approach the willing opportunity, and the unwilling opportunity.

He must “reprove,” or convince, those in error as to doctrine.

He must “rebuke” the unruly, or immoral in life.

He must “exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine”–exercising due patience, and using all the resources of a sanctified understanding, to encourage men to keep the ways of good doctrine (Bible philosophy) and holiness.

2 Timothy 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly (completely) furnished unto all good works.”

The Bible is inspired by God (it is the words of God) (2 Timothy 3:16), and therefore has all the power of heaven behind it. It is like a high voltage power line coming from a great power plant. Everything that is hooked to this power line has all the resources of all the generating capacity of the entire power plant behind it. It will cool our homes in the summer and heat them in winter. It will light the homes and streets in the whole city. It is an amazing force, an awesome power.

But remember when the connection is broken, on any device that is plugged into the line all the power of the entire power plant is shut off from that appliance or instrument, and it ceases to function normally. The same is true in our preaching. As long as we keep our sermons hooked up to this line, it has all the resources of the universe behind it.

“It is profitable for doctrine.”

The Holy Scriptures are sufficient to satisfy all spiritual and emotional needs of the people. They are the only true guide for giving instructions on how to live and get along with our fellowman. The scriptures have the only sure words of how to obtain eternal life. They are the best of all words at comforting the sorrowful. The hope and meaning of life are contained in the Bible.

The scriptures are food for the soul (1 Peter 2:2-3), and nothing else will satisfy the hungry soul.

More than half the occurrences of the word “doctrine” in the New Testament are found in 1 & 2 Timothy where Paul is advising young pastor Timothy on how to educate the church in the things of God. Heresy and error in the church (in belief and practice) begin when Christians stray from the pure teaching of the word of God.

Do not unhook a scripture from the power source by taking it out of context (that for which the author intended), and trying to make it say something it does not mean. Then it does not have the backing of the power source in heaven. The same is true of misinterpretation. A minister should study and pray that God will help him to have the proper understanding and application of the scripture so that the power of God himself will work through it.

It is easy to misapply a scripture or misuse it to make a point you want to get across. This does not make good effective preaching. It is only through the true gospel of God’s word can a person grow and become stable and settled in the truth.

Every minister needs to try to think for themselves when reading and studying God’s word. There is so much false doctrine going around, that unless one knows what the Bible really says, there is a danger of being led off into it. Paul warned the elders of Ephesus that false teachers would arise, even from among themselves, and draw many away from the truth of the Gospel (Acts 20:29-30).

The reason there are so many denominations and religious sects is that of false interpretation and misapplication of scripture.

When reading or studying the scripture think of the five “w boys.” the “w boys,” are who, when, where, why and what. Who this scripture is written to, why was it written, what is being said, and how does it relate to us?

Rule of thumb to go by,

1. Always think for yourself.

2. Don’t believe everything you hear, no matter who says it.

3. Don’t believe everything you read in all the religious books and magazines.

4. Don’t take other people’s opinions without examining them.

5. Try to find out the truth for yourselves.

6. If you hear a very strong opinion on one side of a question (doctrine), Try to hear an opinion on the other side, then decide for yourself.

There is so much propaganda of all kinds, some of it true and some of it is not. It is very important that every minister all over the world should learn to find out the truth for themselves.

Jesus looked upon the multitude in Matthew 15:32 and said, “I will not send them away hungry.” In the scriptures, there is an abundance of seed-corn for the minister’s study and nourishing food for the people’s souls. King Zedekiah asked Isaiah, “Is there any word from the Lord?” (Isaiah 37:17) That should be the question the minister attempts to answer every time he steps into the pulpit, and the only place he will find the answer is in the scriptures.

The Apostle Paul says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

“Thoroughly furnished (equipped) for every good work.”

Applying our hearts to understand the things of God is the only way to become wise in this life. (Proverbs 2:1-10) It is Jesus Christ who enables us to the ministry 1 Timothy 1:12); and it is only through his word, revealed by his spirit, that we know his enablement.

People of the Book (Bible) love the word of God more than anything else in this world. God said, “I have exalted my word above my name.” With the living word filling our heart and the living word filling our mind, we become “Thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If you have never decided that the Bible is the most valuable book–your most valuable possession and resource–would you make that decision today? Don’t let your heart or hand, your word or your will, offend when it comes to the Word of God.

Be a person of the Bible until Jesus comes.


By, James L. Thornton


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