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Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  1,899 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
This complete guide to expository preaching teaches the basics of preparation, organization, and delivery--the trademarks of great preaching. With the help of charts and creative learning exercises, Chapell shows how expository preaching can reveal the redemptive aims of Scripture and offers a comprehensive approach to the theory and practice of preaching. He also provides ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Baker Academic (first published March 1st 1994)
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Matt Pitts
Jun 04, 2013 Matt Pitts rated it really liked it
Christ-Centered Preaching is perhaps a modern classic and certainly one of the greatest preaching texts of the last 30 years or more. It is broken up into three sections (principles, preparation, and theology) and has a wealth of additional information in the appendixes (everything from how to dress and speak to how to prepare a funeral message).

Despite its great reputation, I was afraid it would read like a text book - helpful at points, certainly informative, but dry as a bone. The first sect
Brenden Link
Jan 05, 2012 Brenden Link rated it liked it
Today, especially in America, Evangelicals suffer from a profound inability to read any literary text well. T. David Gordon has made this point very strongly in his little book "Why Johnny Can't Preach." Much of the problem, indeed, is the product of a modern, post-enlightenment, hermeneutics which privileges the autonomous self (the scientific reader) over the ancient text. As C.S. Lewis has aptly pointed out, “A work of (whatever) art can be either ‘received’ or ‘used’. When we ‘receive’ it we ...more
Jan 11, 2012 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, ministry
How can you preach a Christ-centred sermon when Jesus isn't mentioned in the section of the Bible you're preaching from? How can you avoid implying acceptence by works and promoting moralism when the passage you're preaching from contains nothing but commands? Bryan Chapel is the go-to guy for answers. He had a big influence on me when I heard him speak at a conference just as I was beginning to preach (by the way, you can get the core of his position by listening to a few talks on the net). So ...more
Demetrius Rogers
Jul 21, 2015 Demetrius Rogers rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on preaching I've ever read. Maybe the only weakness is that some of the steps of sermon construction were over-scripted, which made a few sections longer than necessary. But, my goodness, what a helpful field guide for those engaged in this practice. Loved this book!
Josh Wilson
Aug 19, 2016 Josh Wilson rated it really liked it
Not much particularly new, but still good.
Ryan Linkous
Sep 19, 2016 Ryan Linkous rated it really liked it
The following review is one I wrote on 9/19/16 after reading this book a second time for a seminary class. See my first review below:

I still think this book is helpful because Chapell has broken down the pieces of a sermon and the process of creating them. For someone who has never preached or who has never thought critically about preaching, he offers some good words. I still wonder if a FCF is applicable in every text and if connecting every sermon to the larger narrative of redemption is poss
Mike (the Paladin)
Apr 23, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This book will I believe appeal mostly to practicing ministers and teachers. The chapters go into a lot of detail about the "nuts and bolt" of preparing sermons and "why" they are prepared that way.

I'm the assistant pastor in our congregations and really I think I find it of limited use. More likely theology students and so on will use this more than local pastors.

I think I may follow it up with the companion book giving sermon examples. This may be of more practical values...guess I'll see.
Aug 27, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
I have read many books on preaching, but this one is on the top of the list. Though it was required for class, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it (you know how that goes--sometimes books you would normally enjoy you do not enjoy them because they are required). I wouldn't recommend it unless you preach regularly or are planning on preaching in the future, but if you do or will preach, start with this book.
Phil Dunn
Jul 26, 2010 Phil Dunn rated it it was amazing
Superb book. Found this so helpful. Quite technical in places, but worth the effort.
Johnmark Battaglia
Dec 25, 2013 Johnmark Battaglia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I've read a lot of books on preaching and if I could only keep one, this would be it. I've read this book 3 or 4 times and regularly consult it as a reference tool. Both practical and inspirational, "Christ-Centered Preaching," is simply hard to beat.

Formal review:

Christ-Centered Preaching

Christ-Centered Preaching, has established Chapell as one of the most recognized homileticians in the United States. This book has become a staple at seminaries of various denominations and a go-to book on p
Bryan Chapell’s thesis in this book is captured very will in the title, and that is: Christ’s redemptive power is the center of every good sermon. Preaching should always be Christ-centered. It is not enough that preachers encourage their congregations to good deeds. The Gospel is centered on Jesus birth, sacrificial death, and resurrection, and that is what gives real power to the sermon. Chapell says preaching should, “provide the means of transformation…that will affect the lives and ...more
Daniel Ligon
Oct 24, 2016 Daniel Ligon rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching
A very good resource on preaching, though sometimes a bit dry and technical. The most helpful aspects of this book are the Fallen Condition Focus (especially in the first two chapters) and the emphasis on redemptive theology (the last two chapters). The book is certainly worth reading for these two topics alone! The rest of the book is basically a general preaching textbook: good, but not groundbreaking. For an introduction to preaching techniques, start with Sunukjian or Haddon Robinson, but if ...more
Nathan Good
Jul 09, 2016 Nathan Good rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nathan by: Jeffrey Evans, Dan Young
Shelves: seminary
Read in August 2007 and May 2016

Bryan Chapell continually reminds us through his book “Christ-centered Preaching” that in order to be effective we have to keep our focus on Christ. We need to take time to prepare, we have to try to understand what the text means, we need to be organized, we need to present the material so that it is interesting and understandable; but above all these things, we need to focus the attention of the congregation on Christ and His work. If the people listening to a s
Bendick Ong
Oct 30, 2013 Bendick Ong rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
Different books cater to different people - even when it comes to pure imparting of knowledge.

Some introductory books are written in a casual style, with the author sharing his experience and lessons learnt; whereas most would do it matter-of-factly, with clear structure, bullets, diagrams and even samples.

In a certain sense, this is almost methodologically like the great divide between continental and analytic philosophy.

And this book is definitely one of those of the latter. If you are a look-
Jan 31, 2010 Eric rated it really liked it
Dr. Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching is a very thorough book on expository preaching with a focus on Christ. Dr. Chapell shows in detail the components of a Christ-centered sermon and explains both the how and why of the methodology. Dr. Chapell explains the importance of Christ-centeredness and how to approach a text with a Christ-centered focus. He puts a large emphasis on having an explanation, an illustration, and an application when expositing a text. He explains each of t
Jason Custer
May 05, 2013 Jason Custer rated it really liked it
I am currently a seminary student towards the end of my degree, and this book was incredibly helpful last semester (and summer) as I found myself writing my sermons (both for class and for church). Chapell has done an excellent job of demonstrating and illustrating how one is to preach Christocentrically from any text in the Bible (Old and New Testament). He makes sure to point out that we can't just "tack on Christ" at the end without showing how he actually addresses the fallen condition ...more
Brian Whited
Dec 06, 2010 Brian Whited rated it really liked it
Chapell wrote this book to introduce seminary students and other would be pastors to the subject of preaching. In part 1 of the book, the importance and validity of the expository sermon is emphasized as the primary sermon type to preach out of a pulpit. Part 2 goes through the fundamentals elements that are included in an expository sermon such as explanation of a test, outlines, illustrations, application, introduction, conclusions, and transitions. The last part of the book then concludes ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
If only we could get all preachers to read and implement this book. There would be a lot less boring, Christ less, and confused sermons.

Chapell does a great job both equipping you with the mechanics of preaching as well as encouraging the right motivation for preaching. I have already benefited from his tips on introductions, conclusions, and having a single coherent focus for my talks.

One of the most helpful elements of sermon prep he suggests is coming up with a fallen condition focus. This
Robert Murphy
Sep 10, 2012 Robert Murphy rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
As far as I can tell, Chapell is unique among homileticians in his extreme emphasis on "anatomy" terminology and construction methodology, and relative scarcity of theology. When he does wax loquacious on "why" and not just "how", he toes the party line with plenty of Vos and Ridderbos quotes. But really, that stuff doesn't come until the last two chapters. As an INTJ (my Myers-Briggs scale), I find I need the big picture FIRST, not last.

As far as the _use_ of this book, I think this is enormous
Adam Ross
Feb 13, 2010 Adam Ross rated it it was ok
Shelves: theology
A mixed bag. It was merely "okay." There is a lot of good, particularly in the first chapters and then in Part Three on redemptive thematics as an emphasis in preaching. The rest . . . ugh. He relies on structures and formulas for both the interpretation of Scripture passages--as though figuring out the meaning of a text is to plug in the numbers and solve for x--and for the structure of sermon outlines. There's nothing wrong with three-point sermons, I suppose, but that structure for preaching ...more
Mar 10, 2011 Philip rated it it was amazing
Chapell's insightful work dramatically changed the manner in which I approach the Word of God. His presentation of the "Fallen Condition Focus" is certainly worth every penny spent on this valuable work. Now instead of approaching Scripture looking for a fascinating tidbit to share with my students, I can now approach the Bible looking for, in Chapell's words: "The mutual human condition that contemporary believers share with those to or about whom the text was written that requires the grace of ...more
Apr 04, 2009 Drew rated it really liked it
Definitely a must-read for any preacher. Chapell is quite thorough and practical in his instruction. But most importantly, Chapell rightly advocates a Christ-centered approach from all of Scripture (as the title would suggest). He distinguishes between sermons that mainly imply self-sanctification and those which display the gospel in such a way to melt our hearts and give us proper motivations for serving and loving Christ.

My only criticism is Chapell's insistence on proposition based sermons
Apr 26, 2016 Aaron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
While not a preacher myself, being a Sunday school teacher and Christian school teacher, I have many opportunities to give lessons and prepare messages. My main concern has always been that I present the passage in a clear, accurate, accessible manner so that people are not hindered by my delivery and that they consistently are led to a higher view of God, His gospel, and His Word. And I always felt incredibly lacking! I had read another book by Chapell and had this recommended to me. I ...more
David 'Wavey' Cowpar
Apr 08, 2015 David 'Wavey' Cowpar rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic look at how to preach a sermon with Christ as the focus.

It develops on introductions, conclusions, links, the main body, different points in the main body, illustrations of the main points and applications of the main points.

Worth the read for anyone involved in preaching, or anyone studying to be involved in preaching.

I found it very helpful in thinking about what elements might be present in a sermon I conducted last Sunday (I completed the book the following Wednesday).

Mar 12, 2009 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching
This is the best book on expository preaching I have read thus far.

His unique contribution is the "Fallen Condition Focus" which challenges the reader to consider how any truth can be communicated to men in their fallen condition. He repeats Jay Adams' challenge that any sermon which would be acceptable to a Jewish synagogue or a Unitarian congregation has failed to communicate the true message of the Gospel.

This is an immensely practical work with a great summary of Robinson's ideas for craftin
Jan 22, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: seminary-books
Brian Chapell brings something to the table in this book. His Fallen Condition Focus (FCF) in preaching is an urgently necessary concept in our day.

He commends preaching scripture expositionally, but doing so with an understanding that people are fallen and that scripture points us to the solution, namely, Christ. Within every text of scripture, you can isolate results of the fall and how Christ and Him crucified can redeem that. It's a long book with an extensive middle section about how to pr
Abraham Peters
Mar 24, 2015 Abraham Peters rated it it was amazing
Best book encompassing the obligations, preparation, and delivery of a sermon. Dr. Chapell did en excellent job with the research and the content to this masterpiece.

This book will be the number one book on preaching I will be recommending to anyone who asks.

-Style of prose is crisp and to the point
-Great figures
-Keeps the bible the center of the sermon
-Easy to follow instructions for sermon preparation
-Wonderful exposition behind the theory of preaching
-Best arguments for using illustration
May 03, 2009 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
kind of dry and scholarly, but if you like that it was wonderful (...not quite my thing)
there were really handy summary/outlines at the beginning of every chapter which will make it a great resource because you can look very quickly to see what each chapter contains.
Everything you ever wanted to know about expository preaching and sermon prep. It even has a few little diagrams/pictures. Which was great for me since I'm more of a visual learner. Full to bursting with information, but never someth
Rock Rockwell
Oct 08, 2007 Rock Rockwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Preachers / Teachers
Shelves: homiletics
I read this book in seminary and have kept many of the basic principles outlined by Chapell in every sermon or lesson I have taught since. Christ is the point of Scriptures. What is the "Fallen Condition Factor" that needs to be addressed? What is the 3 a.m. statement you want them to have? How do you organize your thoughts to preach what the apostles preached, yet to your contemporary context? How do you keep the gospel clear without leapfrogging? What a great book to help preachers/teachers ...more
Matthew Hodge
Jun 23, 2013 Matthew Hodge rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy, christian
It's been a while since I read this one, so I'm only giving a brief summary of what I remember. Essentially, Chapell's big idea is to find what particular message a Bible passage was carrying to its original readers (he uses his own term, the Fallen Condition Focus, to describe this), then working out how that message applies to us. It might sound simple but used effectively it a) avoids sermons that are not really engaging with what the passage is about and b) avoids sermons that are all ...more
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  • Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today
  • The Supremacy of God in Preaching
  • Preaching and Preachers
  • Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages
  • Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers
  • Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching
  • The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
  • Lectures to My Students
  • Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures
  • Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People
  • The Trellis And The Vine
  • Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching
  • What is the Mission of the Church?: Making sense of social justice, Shalom and the Great Commission
  • The Reformed Pastor
  • Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God's Word Today
  • Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Churc
  • The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel
  • Rediscovering Expository Preaching
Bryan Chapell is the president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America. He began teaching at Covenant in 1984 after ten years in pastoral ministry. Chapell has a BSJ from Northwestern University, an MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a PhD in speech communication from Southern Illinois University ...more
More about Bryan Chapell...

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“John Calvin said he constantly “studied to be simple.” 1 likes
“When we face real people with eternal souls balanced between heaven and hell, the nobility of preaching both awes us and makes us more aware of our inadequacies (cf. 1 Cor. 2:3).” 0 likes
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