Posted by: Billy Marsh | March 19, 2008

Christ-Centered Preaching

Christ-Centered Preaching ~ Bryan ChapellThis semester, I’m taking “Advanced Expository Preaching” and have found an incredible supplementary resource to the class. If you’re like me, even after the brief lectures on sermon development and organization, you still feel kind of helpless as you sit down to work out a sermon on your own outside of class. Presently, I have a decent “preaching” library consisting of a few good books on the theology of preaching and others on sermon preparation and delivery. But, this past Christmas my in-laws gave me a book that I had asked that for that has become my new favorite by Bryan Chapell called, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon.

So, as I went about constructing my sermon assignments for my “advanced” preaching class this semester, I found Chapell’s book to be extremely helpful. The book combines the best of both worlds for me. His instruction on how to prepare expository sermons in terms of outlining, structures, introductions, conclusions, the main idea, sub-points, applications, and illustrations are clear, organized, and concise. On the other hand, these formulaic elements of sermon development are complimented by his commitment to his theological convictions concerning preaching, that is, a Christocentric approach.

Bryan Chapell

Chapell is president and a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary. I must admit, I haven’t read his book cover to cover. I have only used it as a resource for this semester’s sermons; but in doing so, I have probably thumbed across every page of the book, and dwelled on some longer than others. I found his chapters on applications, illustrations, and introductions very clear and incredibly helpful in bringing some form and order to my sermons. But, perhaps the best sections of his book are the final two chapters: “A Redemptive Approach to Preaching” and “Developing Redemptive Sermons“. In this final part, he strongly argues for expository preaching to be defined by biblical theology. He writes, “No text exists in isolation from other texts or from the overarching biblical message (275).”

But most of all, Chapell’s call for preachers to let the sermons be Christ-centered pertains to heralding the grace of God manifested in the gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Chapell, there is never an occasion where a biblical text does not lend itself to being an opportunity to point people to the work of Christ on the cross and the grace of God bestowed upon those whom believe in him through salvation. This, of course, is not a theology of preaching that promotes the mishandling of biblical texts by reading Christ into every single passage. That’s why he emphasizes that expository preaching ought to play an important part in teaching God’s people a sound biblical theology.

Whether you are a pastor or feel that there will ever come a time when you have to put a sermon together, you must buy Chapell’s book. You will not disappointed. If you are, sorry, but I can’t give you your money back. Maybe you can call the publisher or the place where you bought it from and see if they can cut you a deal. But I doubt that you would end up wanting a refund anyway.

In addition to the book, Chapell has pretty much lectured his book in its entirety and has made the audio available online for free. When I didn’t have the time to read certain chapters, I just listened to the corresponding lecture. You could probably follow along almost line-by-line from the book with the content of the lectures. They are great and could become for any number of pastors and speakers a priceless resource. Click here to download them or to get the link to subsribe to the podcast on iTunes. Also, click here to visit Chapell’s own webiste where he provides even more downloadable resources and study guides, all which pertain to expository preaching and pastoring.


  1. I definitely agree with your assessment of Chapell’s work on preaching, although I would recommend reading the entire book. I also have a fair number of books on preaching (not as many as I would like though), but Chapell’s is at the top of my list. I would recommend this book to anyone called to preach the Word of God.

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