Christ-Centered Preaching - Second Edition

Bryan Chapell's book Christ-Centered Preaching was released in 1994 and was just re-released in a second edition this month. The book, subtitled Redeeming the Expository Sermon, runs about 400 pages including an extensive bibliography.

There were two ways in which I felt I benefitted from Chapell's first edition, which I purchased this past Fall. One is his focus on what he calls the Fallen Condition Focus, which he says reveals both the text's and sermon's purpose. This is far more than a cute concept or tool. It contributes to our task of speaking what the passage says, rather than using the passage to support our ideas.

The second benefit came through his discussion of what it means to preach Christ-centered sermons. I think we are all guilty of preaching moralistic messages, or what he calls the "Be" messages based on a biblical character and not attaching it to Christ. However, we can also feel that we attach it to Christ when we throw the Gospel in at the end of a sermon. This, says, Chapell, is not the point. Rather, we need to present the redemptive lesson (using the idea in a broad sense) that we find in the passage.

I've been teaching the Bible to adults for nearly 30 years, but only preaching regularly for two. I've read several books on preaching, and I would suggest this as one of the better ones I've read. Chapell seems to have a good grasp on both what goes into a sermon and what a sermon ought to look like.

I've made a commitment to read a book about preaching once or twice a year. If you do something like that for your own growth, this is one to put on the short list.


Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the review, Peter. Chapell's first edition made an impression on me, and now I want to see the second. I'll be featuring your review later on my blog. Peace, brother.

jon said...


Have you read "The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text" by Greidanus? One of my favorites.


Peter Bogert said...

Thanks, Milton!

Have not read that one, Jon. I'll order that.

Are any of you folks near a seminary? I have the fortune of living 10 minutes away from Westminster Theological Seminary in Phila, which has a superb bookstore and sells at 30-40 percent off list price. When I go into it, I'm not sure if I should pray "Thank you" or "Lead me not into temptation!!"

Milton Stanley said...

I know what you mean. The closest theological library is about an hour from my house. It's there when I really need it, but I can't justify wasting too much time (or money)! Peace.

jon said...

I live very close to a couple liberal seminaries. Trinity is the local Lutheran bastion. Lenski taught there decades ago. They even have a Lenski reading room in the library. He would quake to see what goes on there now (I once watched a guy perform communion in a clown costume; I was not in the service, and perform is the right verb). The Methodist Theological School is not too far away either. A third seminary rounds out the triple header--The Josephenium--a catholic seminary. The good part about all this is their libraries. They share books and the local pastors can borrow at will!

Mark Loughridge said...

Another great (small)book is Ministering Like the Master by Stuart Olyott. pub by Banner of Truth.

It is in a different class from the other books - I dont mean that it is supremely better, but it is unlike many books you will have read on preaching. Nothing new - just a very practical look at Jesus' own preaching.

Anonymous said...

I read the book 'Ministering like the Master'early last yr, and enjoyed it to the extent that I've given several to my pastoral friends. The author is from Wales, and has also written couple of commentaries. If one would like the Puritan touch, get "the Reformed Pastor".

Scott said...

Peter. Nice review of the book. I am a fan of Chapell's also and have his first edition. It's a great read on what preaching OUGHT to be. You might also want to check out "Preaching That Changes Lives" by Michael Fabarez. I think you would like that one too.

I plan on posting your review on one of my newer blogs: "Faith Untamed" @

Excellent blog posts. I enjoyed reading them.

Peter Bogert said...

Fabreze's book is indeed a good one. Another that I would recommend is edited by Scott M. Gibson and is entitled, "Preaching to A Shifting Culture." I'll put a review up within the next several days.