Review of Preaching with Accuracy: Finding Christ-Centered Big Ideas for Biblical Preaching by Randal Pelton

4192ACFzqmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_How can a preacher proclaim God’s Word with greater accuracy?

This is the question Randal Pelton seeks to answer in Preaching with Accuracy: Finding Christ-Centered Big Ideas for Biblical Preaching. Pelton is the senior pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania and also a professor at Lancaster Bible College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

In this book, Pelton builds on the work and methodology set out by two prominent preaching books (Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching and Robinson’s Biblical Preaching) and narrows the focus to helping preachers, “[find] Christ-centered big ideas for biblical preaching, an ability that plays a major role in preaching with greater accuracy” (13).


Pelton shares, “Preaching with greater accuracy involves knowing how big ideas and little ideas interrelate to create meanings” (39). Pelton suggests coming at big ideas from several different angles before zeroing in on a preaching big idea:

• The Textual Big Idea (labeled as texbi)
• The Contextual Big Idea (conbi)
• The Canonical Big Idea (canbi)

The book begins by laying the foundation for both exposition and communicating the big idea before moving on to passage selection, sharing one chapter for each component of the big idea (texbi, conbi, canbi), and closes with advice on putting all of the pieces together in the form of a sermon.

Pelton has been greatly influenced by Timothy Keller’s Christ-centered preaching method and explains how Keller preaches Christ and how application flows from the gospel truths drawn from the text. I found his short interaction with Keller’s method to be especially helpful, especially when followed by a short analysis of others who wouldn’t label themselves as “Christ-centered” preachers fall short.

One of the strengths of Preaching with Accuracy is that it encourages readers to practice finding each component of the big idea. Following a didactic section explaining his process, Pelton provides several exercises and examples to practice with before sharing his own conclusions.

Another thing I appreciated was that Pelton doesn’t oversimplify preaching Christ to the neglect of other members of the Trinity, as many preachers do. We should not only preach Christ, but, according to Pelton, preach “God-in-Christ-by-the-Spirit,” for that is what gives readers true, Trinitarian precision in how gospel transformation takes place. Pelton’s explanation of over-interpretation (finding Christ where he is not) and under-interpretation (often taking the form of moralism) of a text is also very helpful in seeing how the three contextual threads (texbi, conbi, canbi) form one strand of faithful gospel preaching.

Preaching with Accuracy will help many preachers sharpen their understanding of the big idea in preaching and their understanding of how all of Scripture points to Christ. This book not only will shape the mind of preachers, but will provide opportunity to practice what was taught so they will be better equipped to preach with accuracy.

Title: Preaching with Accuracy: Finding Christ-Centered Big Ideas for Biblical Preaching
Author: Randal E. Pelton
Publisher: Kregel
Year: 2014

Editor’s Note: Leadership Resources training in biblical exposition works through eight books of the Bible using hermeneutical principles like structure and the big idea of a text. Learn more about our training or look through our Dig & Discover Hermeneutical Principles Booklet.

Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Father. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.