Posted by: Billy Marsh | September 3, 2007

My Ten Steps To Preaching: Making the Inside Flap of Your Bible Useful

Well, not really. I’m very loosely methodological in my approach to preaching. Still, I do try to keep the same template from sermon to sermon. However, my sermon delivery is always maturing and morphing. I just received a tape in the mail from Kim’s home church that has the Colossians 3:16 message that I preached in June on it. Needless to say, I was amazed at just how much my preaching had changed in little under a year.

I was going to post another installment of my “Sojourner” series for Monday, but since the topic of preaching, namely expository preaching, has been a heavy concern on my heart as of lately, I felt led to post at least one more blog on preaching. I may do more this week compiling my notes from Dr. Hughes’ lectures and giving a concise recollection of their theme, structure, and content. However, what I desire to share in this post is just a little resource information that was a personal landmark for me with regards to what I preach and how I preach.

The Supremacy of God in Preaching/John Piper

In all honesty, I believe John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching is the only book I’ve read twice in my life. I do realize that I just manifested at how inadequate of a reader I am since some believe that you really haven’t read a book until you read it at least twice. I’m always playing catch up! The book is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read on preaching, or in general for that matter. I won’t give a detailed review of the book right now except to say, “Go Read It.” That advice is for anyone who is planning on expounding the Word of God to people in any form. This book is most helpful in explaining the theology of preaching more so than the mode or method of preaching. Yet, Piper gives a list of “10” aspects of good preaching which he derived from Jonathan Edward’s preaching style that he has found beneficial for all preachers for their sermon preparation and delivery.

After my first reading of this book, the final “10” counsels revolutionized my philosophy of preaching. I was behooved to summarize each point with one or two sentences and typed them out onto a word processor. Then, I printed the document out in a smaller form which fit the measurements of the inside flap of my Bible’s front cover. I used stick glue to neatly fit the paper into my Bible’s cover where I could carry these admonitions with me everywhere I spoke, taught, or preached. Anytime I had the opportunity to preach or teach the Word, I would read these points over and over again letting their wise counsel seep deeply into my being. This technique has so changed my preaching that you can literally track my preaching methods before and after reading Piper’s book. Since that first copy and paste endeavor, I have placed that same handout into four different Bibles spanning from my full size NIV Thompson Chain Reference to my ESV Thinline.

Here is what I have glued into every major Bible that I have carried in the past 5 years. I hope these broken down points aid and encourage you all to preach the Word as expository exultation. I would also exhort you to read or listen to Piper’s message from the Together for the Gospel Conference entitled, “Preaching as Expository Exultation for the Glory of God”. In addition, he has a 3 disc series called “Preaching as Worship” which is an incredibly powerful plea for expository exultation that he delivered back in November of 1994 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 

Make God Supreme in Preaching (Modeled after Jonathan Edwards):

  1. Stir Up “Holy Affections” – things like hate for sin, delight in God, hope in His promises, gratitude for His mercy, desire for holiness, tender compassion.
  2. Enlighten the Mind – The teaching of deep doctrine. Heat and Light. Burn and Shine. Heat in the heart (holy affections) and Light in the Mind (deep doctrine).
  3. Saturate with Scripture – Don’t generalize the text. Quote the Text! Say the actual words. “Good preaching does not sit on Scripture like a basis of saying other things. It oozes Scripture.”
  4. Employ Analogies and Images – “His [Edwards] sermons abound with images and analogies to give lift to the understanding and heat to the affections.”
  5. Use Threat and Warning – “Some talk of it as an unreasonable thing to think to fright persons to heaven; but I think it is a reasonable thing to endeavor to fright persons away from hell-tis a reasonable thing to fright a person out of a house of fire.” (Edwards)
  6. Plead for a Response – “It is a tragedy to see pastors state the facts and sit down. Good preaching pleads with people to respond to the Word of God.” (Pleading is not a synonym for “altar call”)
  7. Probe the Workings of the Heart – “Powerful preaching is like surgery. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit it locates, lances, and removes the infections of sin.”
  8. Yield to the Holy Spirit in Power – “. . . the Holy Spirit fills the heart with holy affections and the heart fills the mouth.” (Piper); “When a person is in an holy and lively frame in secret prayer; it will wondrously supply him with matter and with expressions . . . [in] preaching.” (Edwards)
  9. Be Broken and Tenderhearted – “Good preaching comes from a spirit of brokenness and tenderness. For all his authority and power, Jesus was attractive because he was ‘gentle and lowly in heart’ which made him a place of rest (Matt 11:29).”
  10. Be Intense – “Lack of intensity in preaching can only communicate that the preacher does not believe or has never been seriously gripped by the reality of which he speaks-or that the subject matter is significant.”


  1. Make Use of the Inside Flap of Your Bible

    Billy at Joy in the Journey shares, as a pastor, what he places on the inside flap of his Bibles: ten counsels from the book The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper (based on Jonathan Edwards’s preaching):
    After my first reading of this book,…

  2. Hey Billy,

    Very cool hat-tip over at the ESV blog.

  3. Very good brother. I often post famous quotes by godly men such as Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Leonard Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer, or Keith Green. I have found them to challenge me through the years.

  4. Billy,

    Your Dad sent me your website and I am very impressed. God is working through you in many ways.
    Your cousin in Indiana….

  5. Brett, I’m glad you stopped by and I hope that this blog ministers to you greatly. I’m not sure if we’ve ever met, I never made it on any of mom’s trips to Indiana for that side of the family. Your cousin in Texas . . .

  6. i love this

  7. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and
    found that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels.
    I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  8. […] at Joy in the Journey shares, as a pastor, what he places on the inside flap of his Bibles: ten counsels from the book The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper (based on Jonathan […]

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