Book Review of "Anointed Expository Preaching"

God’s Word is the explanation of the heart of God. The practice and art of preaching is useful through history and even more in today’s culture. The proclamation of the biblical truth is what is seen all throughout scripture to expose man’s sinfulness and call for repentance. The need for teaching upon the practice and art of preaching is a vast need for the church. Preaching is in need of the priority of keeping the Word of God central and the Holy Spirit as the guide. The book, “Anointed Expository preaching” is an excellent look at the importance and explanation of clear exegetical sermons. The necessity for the preaching biblical and expository sermons is the main thrust of the book. The distinct focused was upon letting the Word of God be the driving force and message of preaching. The reality is that many preachers at times do not have an accurate plan and goal of preaching due to the many presentation styles and content delivery. The continual value of exposition in sermons is needed in every time and culture. The distinct honor of preaching is explained and encouraged throughout the book detailing the aspects of homiletics. In most experiences, the sermon preparation is put inside of a proverbial box and is less creative than most history lessons. The need for intuitive and passionate exposition of scripture into application for every day people is a must for today’s culture. Olford captures the essence of the pulpit in today’s culture, that the Word of God is always applicable. The overall plan of explaining the Word of God is not without living what God’s word says. This book explains, “As men of God, we must be Holy, even as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16) Holiness must permeate every area of our lives (Heb. 12:14). The art and practice of preaching is a continual decision to stay clean and close to God. The distinctive that is explained is that a preacher must be authentic in their daily lives and not only in the pulpit.

In the book, Olford explains in detail the importance of the lifestyle of the preacher along with the content of the sermon. What is missing in some pulpits is the application aspect of the message and in others it is the accuracy of staying true to the context. The book explains in detail the man of God and how the Word of God must be handled in the pulpit. The task of putting together a sermon all the way to delivering it is a challenge to do week in and week out. God’s plan is for pastors to be connected and abiding in His Word so that the sermon is an overflow of their relationship. Olford brought out the discrepancy that occurs when exegetical principles are replaced with allegorical exegesis that misses the original meaning. The most helpful aspect is the explanation of the principles and tools that it takes to rightly divide God’s Word. God’s Word is alive and active and Olford is able to take timeless truths and explain them in a way that has impacted my own preparation and delivery of sermons.

The relevancy of scripture is needed in today’s culture but the method of communicating it can creative to help the audience grasp the truth. Another aspect that was encouraging was how Olford used passages of scripture as the way the principles were taught throughout the book. He used actual scripture to teach the way a sermon is constructed and communicated. The main thrust of this book affirms and exposes the need for clear, relevant, biblical sermons that honor God and empower people to obey. The moral life of a pastor is one that is becoming forgotten in today’s culture. Many preachers have fallen to the temptation of sexual temptation and the allure of fame. God has called men to preach his Word focused upon applying what it says in their life before they communicate it. In order for the message to be heard, the example that is set from the leadership is crucial for people to have hope. The reason that sound, simply tools for exposition of scripture is important is due to the biblical illiteracy and broken lives that are running rampant in today’s culture. Exposing the sin and explaining an alternative through Jesus Christ is a large part of a preacher’s motivation and task.

The outline section that explains the importance of a systematic and focused way to explain God’s Word was excellent. Through reading this book, it has helped take the important principles of scripture and communicate it in a way that everyday people can understand. A pastor must take a day to have Sabbath rest. Most pastors do not have the ability to rest as much on Sundays that is why one day per week that is dedicated to rest is a wise decision. Not only that but a pastor needs to have a hobby or activity that helps them rest the mind and release the tension so they can become recharged. Honesty, trust, and integrity are integral parts of the making of a Christ-like leader. If a leader continually makes decisions based upon conviction, integrity will form into the framework of the organization or church. Consistency is central to the makings of a lifelong leader that impacts and influences people for Christ. Leadership is a continual learning process of being close to God in and through all of life’s issues and circumstances. The strength of a leader is not when they are on the stage, but it is in their personal time with God

Simplicity is seen throughout the principles laid out. The sound action of exegesis is explained with balance as well as focusing on people who are in need of life change. The missing piece in numerous sermons is an action step. People are in need of understanding not only the background and context, but how God’s Word can be applied in their daily lives. The unique task of preparation and presentation of God’s Word is difficult but needed in today’s church. The most affirming statement was letting the Word of God dictate the sermon’s content, not just the opinion and experience of the preacher. The danger that can occur can lead people to presuppose their own thoughts and ideas of scripture before even understanding the biblical context and history of the scripture passage. A preacher’s task is to find the truth of God’s Word and then expound, explain, and apply God’s Word. It is simple through this process if a continual respect of God’s Word is a priority.

One section of the book explained the moral and family life of a preacher. The importance leading up a godly family is one of the most important aspects of a lifelong ministry. The health marriage and raising a family is crucial to longevity. Olford says, “Your ministry is only as strong as your relationship with your wife and children. Alas, this is where unbelievable breakdown that is prevalent today. As a pastor/preacher, you must see to it that you devote sufficient time in your daily schedule to your wife and family” (55). Through reading this book it opened my eyes to the need for a close and intimate relationship with my wife. The reality is that ministry can take its toll on a relationship due to the long hours and heaviness that comes. Intentional time must be planned in order to build a close relationship that gives clarity to the marriage relationships. The book helped illustrate and explain that the family unit must stay close to each other and to God if it is to make an eternal impact for the kingdom of God. Another key aspect of the personal life of a pastor is how they take care of themselves physically. The routine task of meetings, services and visits lend itself to a lack of activity. The lack of activity can revolve into a lack of physical health that will eventually affect the ministry and lifetime of the pastor. People are looking for examples that will not only speak the truth, but live it in a way that draws people to wisdom spiritually, physically and emotionally. The wisdom that is found in a blameless life leads into the pulpit and tenure of a lifetime of ministry. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes but those that have personal integrity will thrive for a lifetime. Integrity stands for “the state of being complete, unified.”[1] The words of a leader must reflect the deeds of a leader.  Leadership is not just a performance in front of people at certain times. Integrity calls out for a person to have truth at the core of their attitude, actions and choices.

The book explained the importance of keeping scripture as the motivating factor of any sermon. It has challenged me to become a better student of God’s Word so that proper exegesis and application can occur. It is a matter of staying true to biblical content that leads people into right living. The practical side that I plan to improve upon is studying the background and context of each passage in order to properly expound and explain how it applies. A godly leader maintains a daily focus on God to live a successful, Christ-centered life. Leaders are to pattern their life after those who have lived out the heart and passion of truth. The ultimate truth comes from a life lived upon biblical principles and a love for God. Leaders are the authors of trust in the hearts and lives of people. The foundation and strength of relationships between a leader and his followers must be honesty. Leaders must lead more upon their relationship than using their position for leverage. If people trust a leader, they will follow due to their innate need for relationship. Spending time getting to know people builds a leader’s position in healthy way versus using the title as the main use of the leader’s authority. The truth that needs to invade every pastor is the reality that they are the messengers of God to a lost and dying world. It is not a life of seeking man’s praise but a continual focus on making God’s name famous throughout the world.

One aspect of the book that will be beneficial to my training in preaching is to realize the Holy Spirit is the only one that can take an outline or manuscript and make it a message. The tendency has been to focus mainly upon my own explanation of scripture and not enough on relying on God’s power to change lives. It is the pastor’s job to accurately explain and apply God’s Word, but it is the Holy Spirit that ultimately changes lives. Complete dependence and reliance upon the Holy Spirit to imprint the message into the hearts of the people is the key. The art of preaching is to be in tune with God’s Word in such a way that relays the message of God’s heartbeat for the church.



The missing ingredient to the pulpit today is a clear exegesis of the culture. What this entails is to understand the beliefs and needs surrounding the church and community in such a way that the sermon delivery and creativity meets people at their point of need. The reality is that many pastors have a good exegetical pattern that is biblical but lack in the ways to creatively communicate truth into today’s culture. Paul exemplified this mentality when He said, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”[2] The missing link is being able to bridge the gap from God’s timeless truth into the today’s postmodern generation. The truth never changes but the methods must in order to help people come to know Christ. The book explained these aspects but more could have been given to the use of creativity in the pulpit. Many ministries are reaching people through creative methods but are missing the importance of rightly dividing God’s Word. It is most important for the Word of God to be the authority and for people to understand how obey it. The church must answer the needs of today’s culture (broken homes, absolute truth, relativism) head on with truth and an understanding of the culture. The pastor is God’s mouthpiece to explain and exhort biblical principles. It has always been God’s plan to use pastors, evangelists, and prophets to explain the truth of the Bible. The need for passionate exposition of the scriptures is a need for today’s church. Not only passion, but a willingness to explain and teach the whole counsel of God’s Word, even if it will upset the church. When the Spirit of God moves, it will upset some people but at the same time change hearts to follow Christ in others. The battle that ensues is the focus on pleasing God over man. Pastors are continually working with people. Understanding the needs and issues that each person faces on a daily basis is important in order to lead effectively. A wise leader never manipulates people but creatively casts God’s vision.

It is the reality of pastors trying to only maintain the pulpit instead of challenging the people of God to obey His Word. The push for cultural relativism must be met with the necessity of biblical repentance. The important issue of helping people see their need in light of God’s Word is crucial for life change to occur. At the same time, God’s love must shine through the message so that hope is the foundation. People are looking for hope and encouragement to grow into strong believers. Encouragement must be a driving force that leads people onto living godly. Leaders must reveal an authentic and humble heart for people to grow in their relationship. Sensitivity is needed within the context of leadership. Maxwell says, “Unsuccessful executives tended to be too rough, abusive, sarcastic, aloof, or unpredictable. Their worst fault was being insensitive to others.”[3]


“Anointed expository preaching” will always be on my bookshelf for reference and for training students to preach. The practicality but detailed look at the art of preaching is clearly communicated through Olford’s book. It accurately explains the balance of the pathos, ethos, and logos in the sermon. It is biblically accurate and explains in a relevant way that truth and necessity of expository preaching. It uses many stories and illustrations to help visualize the principles found within the book. The book should be a definite reference and guide for every pastor no matter their history or experience in ministry. Every minister can improve in some area and this book has a considerable amount of detail on preaching. The resources that expound God’s Word and its proclamation are most important for the leader of today. The book can be used to lead a discussion on accurately handling God’s Word as well as be used in a seminary class to teach pastors to be spirit led communicators of truth. Overall, this is the best resource on expository preaching and will be for many years to come.

[1] Developing the Leader within You

[2] 1 Corinthians 9:22 (ESV)

[3] Developing the Leader Within You, 131.