A few months ago I received a book review in my inbox on Ken Ramey’s Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word. As I read this review, it dawned on me that I have spent many hours study how to preach sermons, yet I have never read book on how to listen to a sermon. I am a pastor and occasionally preach here at CrossWay. But the vast majority of the time I am sitting in the seats listening to message, just like all of you. I have been in church my whole life and read plenty of books, but it never occurred to me to read a book on how to listen to and apply the preaching of God’s word.
So, I picked up this short book and gave it a read. It was well written, a quick read (110 pages), and easy to apply. And I heartily recommend that you give it a read. Here is a portion of the forward from the book. I hope with will whet your appetite. Copy are available in the bookstore for $11.
From the Forward of Expository Listening by Ken Ramey
“Have you ever arrived at church on Sunday in a less-than-ready condition for worship? Maybe you were up too late the night before, argued with your spouse while getting ready, possibly snapped at the kids, or even kicked the dog on the way out the door. By the time you get to church, you’re not truly ready to listen to a sermon! But getting your mind and heart ready is exactly what expository listening requires.”
“Listening to a sermon, really listening–as in thinking, praying, following the argument, concentration on the meaning and its application to your life–now that’s hard work! Merely hearing a sermon is easy; it require a properly functioning auditory system, but it’s essentially a passive exercise. Actively listening to the preaching of God’s Word requires the kind of listening Solomon implored his own sons to do: “My son, if you will receive my words, and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understand; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5) That describes an exercise that’s quite active, requiring energy and effort, and that’s exactly what God would have us do each Sunday when we sit down in the pew for the purpose of engaging with Him. If the public proclamation of the Bible is the primary means of change in a believer’s life (and it is: 1 Cor. 1:18, 1 Tim. 4:13, 2 Tim. 3:16-17), then it’s vital that we get ourselves ready to listen to sermons from God’s holy Word.”
“What I have argued for in the above paragraph is precisely why Dr. Ken Ramey’s book, Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word, is so vital and necessary at this time for the body of Christ at large.”