Ken Ramey is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary in Southern California and serves as the pastor-teacher of Lakeside Bible Church in Montgomery, Texas. Ken and his wife Kelli have been married twenty years and have three children: Zachariah, Hannah, and Jacob.
I have a couple shelves full of books about expository preaching, all aimed, of course, at pastors. This is the first book I’ve ever read that offers insight and instruction for laypeople regarding how to listen to expository preaching. It’s a superbly practical—and long overdue—handbook, covering the subject thoroughly yet clearly and concisely. Ken Ramey is a fine preacher and expositor himself with a shepherd’s heart and a wonderful gift for teaching. I’m very grateful he has tackled this subject and given the church such an invaluable resource.—John MacArthur, pastor-teacher, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA
I read Ken Ramey’s book with pleasure and believe it should be distributed far and wide. It meets a neglected need in the life of the church. There can- not be enough emphasis placed upon the need for effective listening in the pew. Ramey proposes valuable solutions to the problem. He knows how to encourage people to listen to preaching by suggesting practical and helpful ways. The book is a valuable addition to the meager field of listening to sermons. I highly recommend it to every preacher, who would do himself and his congregation a huge favor by making it available. Get it today!—Jay Adams, author, Be Careful How You Listen: How to Get the Most Out of a Sermon
Good listening is missing today in all kinds of relationships, perhaps most of all in church. Many books have been written on how to preach well, but surprisingly, few have been published on how to listen well. Ken Ramey’s Expository Listening admirably fills this void, from establishing a basic need for and theology of listening from the Scriptures to offering practical ways believers can prepare to listen, discern what they hear, and apply sermons to their own lives. I’ve been waiting for such a book for a long time. Christians everywhere should read it and put it into practice.—Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI
It is a powerful combination when a well-prepared preacher encounters a well-prepared congregation. Unfortunately, Christians often think it is the pastor alone who has an obligation to do any real preparation for the preaching event. The Bible has much to say to the contrary. I am grateful for Ken Ramey’s urgent call for all Christians to heed scriptural instructions regarding how we are to embrace the exposition of His Word. Expository Listening is a much-needed handbook for this neglected aspect of church life. It is my hope that God will mightily transform many congregations as preachers and listeners take their biblical roles seriously.—Dr. Michael Fabarez, senior pastor, Compass Bible Church, Aliso Viejo, CA
Nothing could be more important to the Christian life than skillful listening. Our God speaks. So it’s vital that we hear and hear well. Hearing well involves absorbing the meaning of the speaker, in this case God. So Ken Ramey’s thoughtful work in Expository Listening is nothing less than essential reading for all those who want to hear God speak and know the meaning of His Word. Take up this book, read, and listen.—Thabiti Anyabwile, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
As Christians, we (rightly!) have high expectations of our pastors as they preach the Word of God. We expect that they will dedicate themselves to studying and understanding the Bible, that they will live lives marked by their commitment to holiness, that they will expend the effort necessary to craft gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered sermons. In short, we expect that they will come to the pulpit prepared, having dedicated themselves to the task they’ve been called to. How odd it is, then, that we are content to have such low standards for our own preparation? In this book, Ken Ramey shows that we ought to have equally high expectations of our- selves. For while the pastor preaches, we are to be attending to the Word, actively seeking to listen, to understand, to discern, to apply. Expository preaching demands expository listening. If you struggle to listen, if you struggle to know why you should listen, prayerfully read this book and heed its lessons.—Tim Challies, blogger, author, www.discerningreader.com, Ontario, Canada
Too often, churches are evaluated solely by how the pastor preaches. This is a place to start, but it is not the complete test. Of equal importance is how the people listen. With books on how to preach flourishing, how to listen to sermons is an area that has gone almost unnoticed, until now. Ken Ramey’s Expository Listening is a guide for how to listen to and profit from faithful preaching of God’s Word. It encourages the church attendee to move from being a passive member of an audience to being an active participant in the preaching and the worship of God, making Expository Listening a truly life-changing book. I know of nothing else like it.—Rick Holland, executive pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA
Listening to a sermon is not like listening to the news, weather, and sports. And listening to a sermon well requires more than just paying attention. In Expository Listening, Ken Ramey will show you what the Bible says about listening well to God’s Word preached, and he’ll show you practical ways how to do it. Moreover, this book is not only valuable for individual reading, it can serve well as a group study.––Donald S. Whitney, associate professor of biblical spirituality, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
Hearing is a precious thing. The apostle Paul says hearing is required for us even to have faith. Faith comes from hearing. Hearing is not enough though. There’s also heeding—and not all of those who hear heed. That is to say, even if the trillions of tiny pulsations of air pressure reach the unimaginably intricate machinery in your inner ear, where they are inexplicably translated into words that form ideas in your brain, you might not actually listen. You might choose to do nothing with the information. In fact, there may be any number of problems with your hearing. It could be that you simply lack the discernment to know whether or not you are listening to biblical preaching. Perhaps you are listening to preaching you would do best to ignore. Perhaps you have sought out preaching that only makes you feel better about yourself. Or perhaps the preaching is good, but you are the problem. You are burned out on listening. It seems like all you do is listen, while experiencing little growth and change in your life. Week after week, good sermons go in one ear and out the other without ever penetrating your mind or piercing your heart and transforming your life. Perhaps you have the discernment and the desire to obey, but you’re listening to and watching so much during the week that’s not important or entirely accurate that you’ve trained yourself to only half listen, a habit you can’t seem to “turn off” on Sunday mornings. All these hearing problems are the result of never being trained to properly appreciate and practically appropriate God’s Word. We are in desperate need of both theological and practical instruction in the area of listening effectively to the preaching of the Word. Becoming a better listener begins by establishing a basic theology of listening, a biblical audiology. This should be simple enough to formulate, as listening is a dominant theme in Scripture. Almost every book of the Bible contains some reference to hearing and obeying God’s Word. From Genesis to Revelation—through the poets and prophets in the Old Testament and through Christ and the apostles in the New Testament—God beckons us to hear and heed Him. The God of the Bible commands us to listen to what He has said, and He threatens punishment if we don’t, while promising blessing if we do. The pattern is pretty difficult to miss: It goes: command, threat, promise. And in between, there are examples, narratives describing those who endeavored to obey God—Enoch, Abraham, Stephen—and those who chose not to—Adam, Pharaoh, Judas.