A Brief Book Summary from Books at a Glance
by Steve West
About the Author
Mark Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He is the president of 9Marks and has published numerous works on ecclesiology and church leadership.
Table of Contents
Foreword by H. B. Charles Jr.
Preface to the Fourth Edition (2020)
Preface to the Third Edition (2013)
Preface to the Second “New Expanded Edition” (2004)
Chapter 1: Expositional Preaching
Chapter 2: Gospel Doctrine
Chapter 3: A Biblical Understanding of Conversion and Evangelism
Chapter 4: A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership
Chapter 5: Biblical Church Discipline
Chapter 6: A Biblical Concern for Discipleship and Growth
Chapter 7: Biblical Church Leadership
Chapter 8: A Biblical Understanding and Practice of Prayer
Chapter 9: A Biblical Understanding and Practice of Missions
Appendix 1: Tips for Leading the Church in a Healthy Direction
Appendix 2: “Don’t Do It!” Why You Shouldn’t Practice Church Discipline
Appendix 3: The Original 9 Marks Letter
Mark 1: Expositional Preaching
These nine marks are not the only marks of a healthy church, and they are not necessarily the most important nine, but they are indispensable for a healthy church. The first and most important of these marks is expositional preaching. If the pastor preaches expositionally, then the other marks should follow. Expository preaching is not merely a running commentary but is a sermon that takes its main point from the point of a particular biblical text. It is committed to the authority of God’s Word and submitting to it. When we preach topically, we tend to know what we want to say and find a text that talks about our interests. Expository preaching leads the church to the mind of God rather than to the mind of the preacher. The Word is to be central in everything the church does, and it should be the center of the preaching ministry.
There are four important things to observe about the Word and expositional preaching. First, the Word is what brings life. From the very beginning, through OT history, and pervasively in the NT, we see that God creates life and gives instruction through his Word. His people are constituted and created by his Word; they do not make themselves or create the Word. It is through his revelation in speech that we can know God and know what he requires of us. In Christ, the Word of God is fully revealed and comes to us. Without words, we cannot know people well or have a depth of relationship, and this is why it is so essential that God has spoken to us. Many different factors can go into building up groups of people, but only the Word can make and build up a church.
Second, God’s Word is truth, and preachers should demonstrably be getting their messages from the text of Scripture. People in the congregation should see where the truth and authority are located. Third, God uses his Word to sanctify his people. We need the Word in order to be saved, and we also need the Word in order for us to grow. Fourth, the great imperative for preachers is that they are to preach the Word. Preaching is to be the main priority of the pastor. Authority in the church rests on Scripture, and people need the wisdom of God more than the opinions of the preacher. More than any program or strategy, churches need the preaching of the Word of God. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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NINE MARKS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH, 4TH EDITION, by Mark Dever