When considering how to preach, we often think about certain words: faithfully, exegetically, expositionally, passionately, clearly. I’d like to take this post to encourage you to preach doxologically. Preach in a way that drives you and your listeners to unbridled worship.
Consider the example of Scripture.
Paul, after discussing the faithfulness of God in using Israel’s hardening to extend salvation to the Gentiles and in preserving a remnant of Jewish people, breaks forth with words of praise:
Oh the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became his counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom 11:33–36)
Paul ends the entire epistle, this epic treatise on the gospel, with another doxology:
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom 16:25–27)
Paul breaks out into doxological praise in teaching the Corinthians about God’s care for him in hardship (2 Cor 11:31). Many times he opens his epistles (his specific teaching to those local congregations) with doxologies (Rom 1:25; 2 Cor 1:3; Gal 1:4–5; Eph 1:3). He introduces his teaching to Timothy, a teaching directly addressing the form and function of the local church, with an explanation of the Lord’s work in salvation, which leads to lofty doxological praise: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" (1 Tim 1:17).
He concludes both letters to Timothy—probably the most practical examples we have of one servant of Christ discipling another—with doxologies (1 Tim 6:15–16; 2 Tim 4:18). His conclusion to his epistle to the Philippians, expounds on the joys of the Christian walk: more doxology (Phil 4:20).
And Paul is not alone.
Peter’s epistles, which center on crucial church doctrine, suffering for Christ, and confronting false teachers, are also filled with doxological praise (1 Pet 1:3, 4:11, 5:11; 2 Pet 3:18). Jude, whose letter focuses on confronting heretical teaching, also devotes part of his epistle to doxology (Jude 24–25).
The writer of Hebrews, who powerfully expounds on the supremacy of the New Covenant to the Old, is driven to break forth in praise (Heb 13:20–21). The beloved apostle John, as he shares his eschatological vision with the church, begins with a doxology (Rev 1:5–6).
The pattern of Scripture shows that every topic in biblical truth, every theme that affects your life and the life of your church, should lead to praise. Preaching and teaching should lead to doxology.
So, let me ask, what about you? When you are preparing for a sermon—studying the original languages, diagramming the passage, wading through stacks of commentaries, developing your outline, polishing your homiletics, thinking and rethinking your delivery, praying for your people—do you ever just stop, and let your heart sing out in praise?
When you’re crafting your next oratory treatise on the rich truths of the gospel, do you find yourself bursting forth with shouts of glory and adoration to the Father, Son, and Spirit who brought those truths to bear in your life?
When you’re deciding how best to counter the latest heretical attack in order to protect the members of your congregation, do you find yourself overcome with the desire to praise the God of truth?
When you’re working diligently to help your people understand the finer points of the eschatological teachings of Scripture, do you feel a burning in your soul to praise the Savior who is coming again for His bride?
How often in your sermon—actually in the midst of your preaching—does your teaching drive you to simply, and vocally, offer up your own doxology? When we study for our sermons, when we pray for our sermons, when we prepare our sermons, when we deliver our sermons . . . we ought to be driven to praise the Lord.
To be clear, I’m not talking about something manufactured or artificial. Rather, I’m saying the attitude of your heart—the result of all your study, meditation, prayer, and preparation—ought first and foremost to be one of unbridled praise for our great God.
We ought to live doxologically. And we ought to preach doxologically!
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20–21)
[Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.]