Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quotable on Great Sermons

“Great sermons are not prepared. At least they do not become great by preparation. They are great because they issue from a preacher whose littleness has dissolved in the immensity of God; from such a life nothing that is little or without consequence can spring forth. … Great sermons are not born in illustration books but in the needy lives of preachers. Here, where the preacher’s inwardness is fashioned by yearning and desperation, is the womb of important preaching.”

Miller, Marketplace Preaching (1995), 9–10


Jon Gleason said...

A great sermon is only great if it truly reflects the great message of the Word of God, isn't it?

Of course that is going to happen a lot more when a preacher's life is all it should be. But it seems if we turn the focus on the preacher rather than the text we've missed the point.

Larry said...

Yes, Jon, absolutely that's true, and I think Miller thinks that's true as well. But I wonder if it isn't expecting a bit much from a quote to say everything that could be said about something.

I think this quote is notable because it taps into the biblical theme of "Watch your life" and "Guard your heart," two things that, among other things, are indispensable to great preaching.

We can probably all remember sermons we have preached that have been born out at the desk rather than in a growing heart, or perhaps to use Miller's image, a shrinking heart in light of the immensity of God. While God can and does use them, I imagine they fall short of great preaching.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mark Ward said...


As always, you have a great quote or thought to ponder. Thanks for your blog. It is my favorite! And, I really mean that.