Delivering Biblically Sound Messages to Your Congregation


Pastors face a difficult challenge every week—crafting sermons that are both faithful to the biblical text and relevant to their contemporary audience. It may be easy to focus on one aspect over the other but preaching God’s Word with both in mind is hard work. In his new book, Excellent Preaching, Craig Bartholomew explains how to preach so that the powerful message of the Bible penetrates the daily lives of your congregation.

Bartholomew uses the metaphor of landing a plane to Excellent Preachingillustrate the challenge of relevant, biblically sound preaching. You may be intimately acquainted with Scripture, prayerfully completing all the hard exegetical work for a sermon, but if the message falls flat, the cargo—God’s living Word—may not reach its destination. Likewise, a pastor who is closely familiar with their congregation but preaches without a biblical foundation has no eternal cargo to deliver at all. Overcoming the challenges of relevant application in preaching is essential to deliver a message steeped in spiritual significance.

Drawing on years of preaching experience and grounded in rigorous scholarship, this book is a challenging reminder to connect the message of Scripture to everyday life.

What people are saying

Here’s what some of Bartholomew’s peers are saying about Excellent Preaching:

In this serious and, at times, deeply challenging book, Craig Bartholomew brings together many of his passions: the Bible as the story of the world, the richness of Christian spirituality, the best of Reformed theology, hermeneutics, and Christian philosophy. All these are put to work on the place of preaching in the life of the church. Flying a plane works as a powerful metaphor for this foundational task and reminds us of the most important thing in the life of a believer: arriving at the destination of God himself—an awesome, intimate, personal, and transforming encounter.  Such is the accumulated Christian wisdom of Bartholomew’s own life of discipleship that almost every page of this small book is full of good things, things that invite us into deeper fellowship with the Trinity. I recommend this carefully distilled wisdom without hesitation to every person who is engaged in the preaching ministry.

—Rev Dr William Olhausen, priest and theological adviser to the Archbishop of Dublin

Standing in the tradition of John Stott, with his passion for preaching that was both faithful to the biblical text and relevantly applied to the contemporary context, Craig Bartholomew argues persuasively and passionately for a revival of exactly that quality of preaching in today’s church. In a short space he combines deep biblical scholarship with acute cultural analysis. Pastors who long to be effective in their primary calling—to preach the Word of God—will find encouragement, vindication and ongoing challenge in this book.

—Christopher J.H. Wright, Langham Partnership


Good contextualization is hard work. In Excellent Preaching, Craig Bartholomew bridges the gap between a biblical foundation and relevant application. This book is now available as an individual download—or get it with 14 other carefully selected ministry resources in the Excellent Preaching Bundle.

Written by
Jake Mailhot

Jake Mailhot is the product manager for Lexham Press. He also writes about baseball and lives in Bellingham, WA.

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Written by Jake Mailhot