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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...


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