The Spirit of Preaching: Allowing the Holy Spirit to Lead the Preacher in His Study

 |  November 26, 2018

The preaching ministry is a spiritual enterprise. John Knox says, “True preaching from start to finish is the work of the Spirit.”[1]John Knox, The Integrity of Preaching (Nashville: Abingdon, 1957), 89. Consequently, preaching has to be navigated in utter dependence on the third person of the Trinity from the very beginning of the sermon journey. This pursuit involves both our study of the Bible (cf. 2 Tim 2:15) as well as our prayer for the Spirit to be effectual in its proclamation (cf. Luke 11:1–13; John 14:12–14). Here are some specific ways to lean into the Spirit’s attendance before you ever get up to preach.

Our dependence on the Spirit doesn’t begin when we get up to preach. Preachers must be intentional about engaging the Spirit in their preaching from the outset of their preaching journeys. While I believe there is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the preaching moment (e.g., Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9), His powerful help must be invoked in the preacher’s sermon preparation, as well as in the life he brings to the process.


Jim Shaddix is the W. A. Criswell Professor of Preaching and Director of the  Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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