Having completed the Master of Divinity at Southwestern Seminary, I step into a new chapter this month as I officially enter the PhD program. One of the ways that I stay involved in ministry while in seminary is by preaching wherever the door opens. For the past two years, rather than serving vocationally in any given local church, I’ve been preaching throughout the state of Texas on a Sunday-by-Sunday basis. (If you would be interested in bringing me to preach at your church, click here.)
One of the difficulties raised by itinerant ministry is that I am committed to systematic exposition – preaching verse-by-verse through entire books at a time. I am convinced that such preaching best communicates the intended meaning of the biblical author (and Author) to the congregation. However, when the preacher is merely a guest at a church, rather than the primary pastor, the challenge has been raised that the sermons cannot build upon one another. It would be better, according to those who make this challenge, to preach over a specific passage that can be pulled from its context and yet still communicate a biblical message on its own.
In spite of this objection, I maintain that systematic exposition is not only better for the congregation, but I believe that it is better for me as the preacher, as well. By preaching verse-by-verse, even in various pulpits in various churches, I as the preacher have a better grasp on what the biblical author (and Author) is saying, the context in which he is saying it, and the importance of what he is saying. In so doing, I never need to pull a passage from its context, but rather, I can demonstrate within its context what the text actually means. And that’s the point of expositional preaching, anyway.
I have preached through the book of Galatians, Colossians, and, more recently, the book of Jonah (For samples of my preaching, click here). This fall, I take another step and plan to begin working through the book of James.
As I begin to prepare sermons through the book of James, these are the commentaries that I’m using to keep me on track.
- Vaughan, James, Founders Study Guide Commentary
- Adamson, The Epistle of James, NICNT
- Moo, The Letter of James, PNTC
- Davids, Commentary on James, NIGNT
- Blomberg and Kamell, James, ZECNT
Am I missing one that you might recommend?