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How Sermons Work: A very helpful book for those who prepare sermons. [Kindle Edition]

David Murray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is a very helpful book for those who prepare sermons. It will be enjoyed by readers who love their Bibles. I highly commend it.' Errol Hulse, Editor, Reformation Today



Editorial Reviews

Review

The biblical, theological, and pastoral foundation of How Sermons Work is one of the many reasons I heartily commend David Murray s ministry. David s fruitful experience as a preacher and his faithful pastor s heart oozes from every page of this book. It is written with a precision that will immensely benefit both young aspiring pastors as well as the most seasoned preacher. I commend this practical guide to all who seek to evaluate their preaching with an aim to grow more faithful in this divine calling. --Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church

About the Author

Author David P. Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was born in Scotland and served as a pastor and lecturer there.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and Helpful January 20, 2012
Format:Paperback
I'm precisely the person this book was written for. I'm an active lay person who is occasionally called upon to preach. This book is exactly what it's marketed as: It will help you prepare a biblical sermon that is faithful to the text and deliver it well - all in a short time with little experience. You can read the entire book in about 2 hours but it's laid out so that you can simply open it up next to your Bible and write a sermon as you go.

Interpretation:
I'm really pleased with how sound the interpretation section is put together. Chapter 3 is all about determining the message of the text. Murray breaks down interpretation into 5 Sections.
Translation: This section is the most demanding for a new preacher if they have little or no background in the original languages. Dr. Murray gives some practical tips on using accessible resources to aid you in word study. One big takeaway here is the use of multiple translations - both formal and dynamic - in your preparation.
Background: Dr. Murray shifts to the history around the passage. He focuses on questions like: When was it written? Where? What kind of audience was there? How would they have understood it? So often these questions seem unhelpful but Murray shows us how they are useful.
Text: This is the meat of what a passage says. How is it structured? What is the main idea? Dr. Murray gives some helpful tips to exposit the text.
Listen to John Piper preach and you'll know exactly what I mean.
Context: This section was a joy to read. Dr. Murray asks the questions that we often miss: How does this passage fit into the message of the book it's in? Does it reference other passages? What is unique about the way this passage treats an issue? This is the most important section of the exegetical helps.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Crash Course in the How-Tos of Preaching July 24, 2012
Format:Paperback
A number of years ago, I was listening to a really great preacher on my iPod and I remembered thinking, "How did he do that?"

That fascination led me to start trying to figure out how to preach and a big part of that (along with reading some terrific books) was getting help from a good friend who mentored me in this area for about 2 years.

But not every budding or wanna-be preacher has that opportunity. That's where David Murray's recently released book, How Sermons Work, is so helpful. In this short book, Murray offers a practical explanation of the mechanics of preparing and preaching a sermon.

Right out of the gate, Murray aims to properly position the work of preaching in the minds of readers.

"Some people seem to think that pastors `receive' their messages direct from God. They imagine some mysterious process by which the pastor just `gets' a sermon. That is too high a view of preaching. It views preachers more like angels than ordinary mortals," he writes. "Others think that a pastor just spends the week relaxing, gets up on a Sunday, and says the first thing that comes into his mind with little or no forethought or planning. That is too low a view of preaching. Anyone with a bit of verbal fluency could do it. . . . Like all pastoral labour, it involves head, heart and hand."

This is something that many of us really need to be reminded of, regardless of our experience in (or affinity for) preaching. Preaching is hard work and it's heart work. And the two are inseparable. This is perhaps where the books really shines. Murray is unrelenting in reminding the reader of the work it takes to preach well and to the glory of God.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All Pastors January 23, 2012
Format:Paperback
"The biblical, theological, and pastoral foundation of How Sermons Work is one of the many reasons I heartily commend David Murray's ministry. David's fruitful experience as a preacher and his faithful pastor's heart oozes from every page of this book. It is written with a precision that will immensely benefit both young aspiring pastors as well as the most seasoned preacher. I commend this practical guide to all who seek to evaluate their preaching with an aim to grow more faithful in this divine calling."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book on Sermon Prep I Needed! October 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I want to learn to build a birdhouse or make Coq au vin or speak German there are any number of simple, step-by-step guides from which I can choose. But what if I want to learn how to prepare and preach a sermon? Though there are many books on preaching, my experience is none of them is what you'd call simple and straight forward. Most read like seminary text-books (perhaps that's because many of them are seminary text books!). But, David Murray's How Sermons Work, is not like that at all.

This is the best book on sermon preparation I've read. Murray approaches preaching as a skill that can be learned, not a mystical talent delivered from on high to a select few. While it is true certain men are more suited for ministry than others, it is equally true that having a "calling" to ministry does not negate the need to learn good sermon preparation techniques. Murray makes it clear that a man called of God to deliver His word has a responsibility to put in the time necessary to become good at what he does.

The book is very logically organized with chapters on how to select a text, how to organize the information and how to apply the text in a way that is helpful to the listener. Never having been to seminary, the most helpful part for me was the chapter on exegesis. I found the list of exegetical questions particularly helpful. I've created a template of these questions and have begun using it to prepare Bible lessons.

While a systematic approach and simplicity are the book's strengths, Murray doesn't assume those are all that's needed to teach God's word. He has an excellent chapter on preparing to preach that emphasizes the importance of prayer and familiarity with scripture as prerequisites for God-honoring, life-changing preaching.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Short Primer on Preaching and Sermons!
This is a really great, short, to the point book on preaching. It includes what the preacher must be personally be before God, sermon exegesis, introductions, structure,... Read more
Published 19 days ago by spence3338
3.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Introduction but Not A Stand-Alone Resource.
Author: David Murray
Publisher: Evangelical Press
Reading Level: Leisure

In the Protestant tradition the proclamation of God’s word is central to the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by A&J Torrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I purchased this for a friend, who really likes this book!
Thank you for its availability!
Published 3 months ago by Sum
4.0 out of 5 stars How Sermons Work
How Sermons Work by David Murray is a primer on how to write and preach sermons. Murray explains that he wrote this book to aid seminary students, elders who preach, preachers who... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Peter Butler Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very basic, but helpful
I thought this book was helpful as a basic introduction to preparing a sermon. It contained helpful examples and relevant quotations. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Will
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is a great book. Dave Murrary puts things together so nice for anyone to understand. If your a teacher or not this is good to help ypu be a better student.
Published 18 months ago by Robert P. Brodeur
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quick read on preparing, preaching and reflecting on your...
My first review of a book I read entirely on my Kindle. I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Professor Murray speak a year or so ago at Oakbrooke Bible Church and he was... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Paul Dare
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of Homiletics
This is a brief read - 154 pages - and is a good introduction to a number of homiletical issues, including introductions, organization, application and delivery. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jay N. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Sermon 101
Great ABCs of sermon writing. But if you've done any basic homiletics study, i.e. read Haddon Robinson's "Biblical Preaching", this book is probably too basic for you.
Published 24 months ago by Tray
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and instructive - a genuine help
With his customary clarity and precision of style and structure, David Murray provides us with a preacher's toolbox - not a full pastoral theology per se but rather a practical... Read more
Published on January 25, 2012 by Walker
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