An introduction to Homiletics, the study and practice of preaching, Published in ‘A Student’s A-Z of Theology’ Ed. B. Domeris and K.Smith by South African Theological Seminary Press.
Homiletics, like many other Christian disciplines, is hard to define adequately,
but in essence, it is the study and practice of the preaching of the Word of God. There is a strong biblical basis for preaching, both in precedent and in injunction, and it has been a central feature of the church throughout all ages. The history of homiletics reveals a general shift of focus from the text, to the preacher, and then to the audience. Concerning the text, although there are several different terminologies, the main divide in approach is between expository and topical sermon form. The focus on the preacher, rather than the text, highlights the key issue of the source of authority for preaching. Concerning the audience, it is obvious that preaching is always in the context of a group of listeners and so their needs must be an area of concern. However, needs and cultures should never override the primary preaching responsibility of fidelity to the Word of God. While preaching cannot be divorced from its audience, neither should it be separated from the contexts of sound hermeneutics and of church worship and ministry.