Now that we’re deep into the middle of Clergy Appreciation Month, we’re excited to introduce two new resources that are beloved by preachers and laity alike.
James Montgomery Boice stands as a giant in the history of expository preaching. One could even say he wrote the book on the subject if we want to count his collected Expositional Commentary. These 27 volumes collect Boice’s sermons in biblical order to cover most of the Old and New Testaments.
In his chapter, “Expository Preaching,” in the book Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching, Derek Thomas says this about Boice and the individual books that make up his commentary series (pp. 39-40):
Boice believed in expository preaching and said so often. His four-volume set of sermons on Romans is rightly called An Expositional Commentary, as is his five-volume set of sermons on John’s Gospel and similar works on Genesis, the Psalms, the Minor Prophets, Acts, Ephesians, and Philippians. These books were sermons before they ever saw the printed format. They are classic in style: simple, structured, highlighting main themes, alluding to other passages only to illustrate what is already drawn out of the text in question, and always applicatory.
Thomas goes on to write, “Few congregations in the twentieth century enjoyed such rich fare as did Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia during Boice’s tenure as senior minister” (p. 40). And while we can’t go back in time to sit in the pews at Tenth Presbyterian and hear Boice preach his master sermons in person, we are fortunate to have this collection of his messages organized in commentary form.
Pastors will appreciate Boice’s style and method of exposition in this collection, but truly this is still a commentary series that can be appreciated by anyone. Individual chapters might cover a portion of a verse, a single verse, or an entire passage. However, each of these chapters averages five or six pages each, which allows Boice’s Commentary to serve even as a source of daily study and reflection.
There are approximately 1250 separate chapters in the entire series, but if the reader wants to go really deep, consider that Genesis has 180 chapters, John has 270, and there are 239 chapters on Romans! And although Boice’s preaching at Tenth Presbyterian spanned from 1968 to 2000, readers will discover that even 15 years later, his exposition of the ancient Scripture texts are amazingly current, even seemingly prophetic at times.
Accordance developers have analyzed Boice’s Expositional Commentary in great detail, tagging every bit of text according to the following fields: Reference, Titles, English Content, Translation, Scripture, Transliteration, and Page Numbers. Such detailed tagging allows the Accordance user to maneuver through this commentary series quickly and find the exact content needed.
In some preaching classes, seminary students are taught that they should spend one hour in sermon preparation for every minute spent in the pulpit (in spite of this admonition, I have not noticed an expected decrease in sermon length in the churches of which I’m familiar!). But let’s be honest: very few pastors actually have time to fulfill this kind of instruction. Good pastors who take their calling to ministry seriously are usually the busiest people I know. And heaven forbid if pastors have to prepare multiple sermons in a week—there’s simply no way they could devote the above prescribed amount of time to sermon prep.
Although the proclamation of God’s Word is a very serious part of ministry, often sermon planning time is set aside because of other demands such as visiting the sick and homebound, counseling troubled church members, administering wedding and funeral services, and attending a seemingly infinite number of church committee meetings.
Here’s another pearl of wisdom some preaching professors like to throw out: “Sermon outlines are a crutch!” However, in light of all the responsibilities mentioned above, sometimes an extremely busy pastor needs a bit of help—whether it’s referred to as a crutch or something else.
This is where Baker’s Sermon Outline Series comes to the rescue. It’s no accident that the Sermon Outline Series is abbreviated “S.O.S.” because that’s exactly what this resource is–a lifesaver in tumultuous seas of church life. Let’s be clear: these are not books of sermons that can be preached as is. The busy pastor is still going to have to spend a certain amount of time fleshing these outlines out. Exposition is still required, including the pastor’s own illustrations and points of emphasis. These sermon outlines merely give the busy pastor a head start and a helping hand when it’s most needed.
Who will benefit from the Sermon Outline Series?
- Busy pastors
- Bi-vocational pastors
- Supply preachers who often get calls at the last minute
- Lay leaders who often have to teach or preach
- Anyone who experiences writer’s block occasionally
- Anyone who simply wants a collection of outlines on Scripture for study purposes
In adding the Sermon Outline Series to Accordance, we decided that rather than sell these various titles piecemeal, we would offer them together all at once at an economical price. The Sermon Outline Series bundle for the Accordance Library contains hundreds of sermons from nearly 40 volumes of sermon outline titles sold individually in print.
The Sermon Outline Series contains a significant amount of variety. Included are both expositional sermon outlines as well as topical. There are sermons for holidays and special occasions, as well as funerals. In fact, there are nearly 40 funeral sermons alone in this bundle. Any experienced pastor knows that sometimes it seems as if death comes in seasons, when there is one funeral after another. During these times, it can be difficult to continually come up with new ways of offering the same kinds of encouraging words to those who grieve. Having a diverse collection of funeral sermon outlines on hand can be a very welcome prospect.