Preaching for God’s Glory is a brief and compelling introduction to the topic of expository preaching. In this slim volume, Alistair Begg quickly covers a large swath of ground that serves as both a useful reminder for experienced preachers and an accessible starting point for novices. Begg is the Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland. While not explicitly stating a thesis, Begg’s aim is clear: to convince reader that the Word of God is the sole authority for the church, and the preacher of it is, “standing under Scripture, not over it.” He not only succeeds in this task, but he does so with an easy to read and disarming style that eschews any pomposity or formality.
The structure Begg gave his book clearly outlines his intentions. The book has six chapters, entitled, (1) “The Eclipse of Expository Preaching,” (2) “What Happened to Expository Preaching?,” (3) “The Nature of Expository Preaching,” (4) “The Benefits of Expository Preaching,” (5) “Practical Pointers,” and (6) “‘Who is Equal to Such a Task?’.’ As these chapter titles make clear, Begg sets out to diagnose the demise of expository preaching, explore and then extol its benefits, and then exhort and prepare the reader to undertake the task.
Begg’s style in Preaching for God’s Glory is deceptively simple. The reader is carried along by his easy and simple prose, only to find themselves downstream floating in a mass of new insight and practical wisdom about preaching. For a very small time investment, the reader is paid off in an abundance of wisdom. This book is an excellent introduction to the topic of expository preaching, for two reasons. First, the concision with which Begg approaches the topic allows the reader to get a quick overview of the whole task of preaching. Unlike other texts which might provide a very brief introduction and then jump right into the minutiae of the process, this book provides a useful level of information on each area it explores.
Second, the fifth chapter, “Practical Pointers,” is eminently helpful in orienting the reader directly to the task at hand. While the previous chapters set the reader up well to understand the big picture—as do other good introductions—this chapter then focuses their eyes on the work and hand, and reminds them that it is actually work. After reading this book, with it’s broad, accessible, and yet usefully brief coverage of every aspect of the craft of expository preaching, the reader is then well-positioned to examine other, more in-depth, works on the subject with a critical and somewhat educated eye.
The only fault that could be laid at the feet of this work is be the brevity of it. I can see where some readers would feel short-changed, or would want more from the author. That’s certainly understandable given how enjoyable of a read it is. But it’s clear that the author agrees with the old show business adage: “Always leave them wanting more.”