as C. K. Barrett, shows us how he views preaching. He says:
There is a difference between a sermon, on the one hand, and a lecture
or essay on the other. A sermon is not simply a public address on
a religious subject; it is not simply an exposition of a passage of Scripture.
It is these things, yet if it really is a sermon and not a lecture, it is
something else too. It is a means by which God himself speaks to us.1 This
is not an event the preacher can command or arrange. It is independent
of his learning, his eloquence, his enthusiasm. But it does happen,
and it is the only raison d’etre of preaching.
Preaching, for C. K. Barrett, is not merely the conveying of information
or even an exercise in transformation, but an encounter with the living voice
of God speaking quite directly to the individual listener through the proclaimed
Word. That is, God uses proper preaching to speak to us, sometimes
with the help of the preacher, and sometimes even in spite of the inadequacies
of the preacher.
According to James Dunn’s memoir, C. K. Barrett (1917–2011) will be long
remembered as the “finest English language commentator on the New Testament
in the twentieth century.” Dunn goes on to say, “As the commentator
who mastered the central section of the New Testament—the Gospel
of John, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s letter to Rome and his letters to
Corinth, all of them served with weighty commentaries—Kingsley Barrett
surpassed his contemporaries.” (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British
Academy, XII, 3–21. © The British Academy 2013.)