Skip to main content

Book: The Preacher and Preaching, Chapter 3, The Preacher and Scholarship, James Boice, pages 91-104.

The briefest of all chapters so far, Boice serves up a wonderful contribution.

The pastor must maintain his pursuit of scholarship in order to enable him to preach and teach the whole counsel of God more ably.  

The autobiographical section was especially enjoyable.  I learned things about Boice I had never known.  Learned and a graduate of Harvard and Princeton Seminary and then the University of Basel in Switzerland (Ph.D.), it makes perfect sense why he was asked to write on this subject.  He believed that a man is a faithful steward of his scholarship in the pastoral ministry God gives him, as opposed to being a teacher or professor.  This was Boice's life's calling and this brief chapter commends the same to future pastors.

Very helpful recommended guidelines are laid out for those who are training for pastoral ministry on how to pursue scholarship that will benefit the pulpit ministry of the preacher.  To those young men who are pursuing an education for full-time pastoral ministry he advises to get the most formal training possible.  He implies, though never states, that one should not simply be satisfied with a Master of Divinity, but consider going further, perhaps a Th.M. or Ph.D.  To underline this point, he quotes he predecessor, Donald Grey Barnhouse's advice to young ministers:  If they knew the Lord was returning in four years, these young men should spend 3 of those years in intensified training and study and only then use the last year in full-time service.  I appreciate the emphasis on a learned ministry.

More practical for this near 50 year old reader is Boice's encouragement to never stop learning. He then gives examples of areas of study a man could devise for a calendar year.  Particularly convicting was the necessity for the minister to plan all such reading and study well in advance.  The minister should have an idea of the great doctrines of the Bible that will be addressed through the expositional preaching for a calendar year or longer, and begin to study those doctrines in advance.  As an example, Boice lists 6 books on the Holy Spirit that he was able to read well in advance of his preaching through John 14-16.   
This highlights another personal weakness of mine. I do not know one year out what book of the Bible I will be preaching from, no matter the great doctrines that may be included therein.  The Session graciously gives me study leave every year (one or two weeks, I don't remember).  I am not sure how long because I have never taken the study leave.  Reading Boice's contribution to this volume encourages me to consider pulling away for a week and laying out a preaching calendar. 

Scheduling time for study is crucial and necessary.  Interestingly, Boice's morning was for study.  Appointments for pastoral care or home visits would be scheduled from the end of the day forward (the first appointment of the day would be from 4-5, the next, 3-4, etc.).  He said this would maximize his study time.

This was an immensely helpful and practical chapter.  I will re-read it in 6 months.


  1. I love Boice. My Dad and I got to see him at an Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals conference on Covenant Theology, about 2 months before he died. He made me realize very quickly, that "smartness" can be communicated in a way that folks like me can understand it. The other "blown away" feeling I had was his mention of the fall...when he described the killing of the animal to cover over Adam's nakendess...he said, imagine...for the first time...they saw death...they must of thought to themselves..."so this is what death is like"...all the blood, and guts...then he made a connection...I wonder why we don't see that it because the dead are "beautified" in the casket...? Anyway...


Post a Comment

What Say Ye?

Popular posts from this blog

David Powlison (1949-2019)

David Powlison died around 11am on Friday, June 7th, 2019.

I wrote this about him a couple of years ago:

He taught some of my counseling classes at WTS and is the Executive Director of CCEF. His ability to pastor the human heart and his relentless pursuit of the glory of Christ was on display in the classes he taught. We would often begin classes by singing a hymn together and Dr. Powlison would pull a nugget of truth from the hymn and riff for a few minutes. It was always encouraging to our faith. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Powlison and his wife Nan for how kind they were to me and my young family.

He has left a treasure for us in what he has published. Without reservation, I recommend everything below:

The Journal of Biblical Counseling. You can subscribe to the digital copy or a hard copy. He was the editor and past copies are available.

Seeing with New Eyes. This is a "vision shaping book" that makes the case that the Bible is sufficient for all we experience.

How Do…

My Teachers

Ephesians 4:11-14

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (ESV)

In the last couple of months, I've heard of the death of a couple of influential professors. The tributes I read reminded me of how God has blessed His church with these men. I began to think about the teachers and professors who have influenced me.

And then I read a post recently from someone who graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS). What he wrote about WTS was foreign to me. He admitted it was based on "his experience" but it was full of char…

Suffering--Book Brief

Paul Tripp is a faithful counselor and has served me and many of you through his conferences, books, video series, newsletters and booklets. He has written on the transition to middle age, love, sex, and money, raising teens and many other subjects.  If you are not familiar with him or his writing, I highly recommend him.
His latest book, Suffering, is the best thing he has written.
There are multiple contact points any reader will have with this book because suffering is universal. We all experience it. We can’t escape it. Tripp, through his decade's long association with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) has counseled hundreds of sufferers. You will hear many of their stories in this book. More importantly, you will hear how a skilled biblical counselor helps the sufferer frame her experience in such a way that the truths of the Bible connect to the experience of the sufferer.
The chapters “The Awareness Trap”, The Fear Trap”, “The Envy Trap”, “The Denial T…