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Book: Preaching by Ear

Yes, I know: you preach with your mouth. You listen with your ears.

Preaching by Ear by Dave McClellan

<-Use your eyes, see a book about using your ears to preach with your mouth. Wait, what?

Today’s book was provided by Cross-Focused Reviews. Shaun lists books, I pick one that I like and review it. No obligation, no cash, no coffee is exchanged in this case.

Dave and Karen McClellan’s Preaching by Ear addresses a question many of us preachers have never thought to ask: “Why have we taken a written approach to an oral practice?”

The sermon, after all, was initially an oral presentation. There is no biblical evidence that Peter, Paul, or John prepped a written document before their messages in Scripture. Further, many historical sermons, prior to the printing press, were delivered orally from the mind and heart rather than from paper.

First, McClellan makes his case for the historicity of the oral sermon. He clearly demonstrates how much better we understand things by internalizing them through oral practice.

Second, McClellan gives some ideas on developing and delivering sermons from an oral perspective. Rather than looking at the sermon as complete when it is good paper, the sermon is not done if it isn’t clear aloud.

Here is where the work really shines. It is one thing to express a disagreement with common practice, but without developing how-to ideas about implementation.

In all, if you are looking for a different approach to preaching than the current written-oriented methods, I think Preaching by Ear is well worth your time.

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