There is a vast difference between simply conveying information to people, which can be cold and ineffectual, and true preaching and witness.

We have a long-standing friend who was once driving in the north of Scotland with our fellow countryman the late professor John Murray of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. Professor Murray decided to turn the journey into a quiz! He asked a question: “What is the difference between a lecture and preaching?”

Our friend tried his best to come up with a good answer. But Professor Murray was not satisfied.

“Well, Professor Murray,” our friend eventually conceded, “What is the answer? What is the difference between a lecture and preaching?”

“This is what it is:” said John Murray, “Preaching is a personal, passionate plea.”

Our friend again replied, “But what is the personal passionate plea?”

Quick as a flash, Professor Murray responded in Paul’s words: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”42

That’s it!

Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson, Name above All Names (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013).

The book and study guide are both available on Amazon. The study guide is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.