At the Office with Dr. Jim Shaddix
Lauren Pratt | October 03, 2019
Jim Shaddix is a pretty unassuming guy.
Though he has taught in seminaries, preached from a number of pulpits and written numerous books, Shaddix is the first to tell any young pastor that preaching is a supernatural event. It necessitates prayer, a dependence on the Spirit and a faithful study of the text. From sermon preparation to food he enjoys (spoiler alert: it’s SPAM—yes, the potted meat), the W.A. Criswell chair of expository preaching took some time to discuss resources that have helped him faithfully teach the Bible to others.
What is your favorite item in your office?
My favorite things about my office are the pictures of my family — my wife and kids and grandkids. I have three kids and eight grandkids.
What is one of your favorite books from your office?
I have a little section of some really old books right up there — some of them related to preaching and theology. Some of them go back into the 1800s.
Why is there a can of SPAM on your shelf?
Those are Spam-flavored Macadamia nuts. I got them in Hawaii. I like Spam – fried Spam cut up with fried potatoes. That’s an interesting fact most people don’t know. That can has never been opened and never will be. That even sounds nasty to me. I like Spam and I like Macadamia nuts, but there are just some things in life that don’t go together. I did use them in a wedding one time. I was marrying this couple and the guy was a short, red-headed, freckle-faced guy and he married this beautiful, blonde girl. I was talking about things that didn’t look like they went together.
Who is one of your favorite preachers? How have they influenced you in your preaching?
I have the privilege of holding the W.A. Criswell chair of expository preaching. That’s a blessing that I get to be associated with someone who I would say has influenced me – his pastoral preaching and faithful exposition. John MacArthur has probably shaped my philosophy of preaching and exposition as much or more than anybody. Grateful for his life and ministry. I’m a big C.H. Spurgeon fan just because more for his emphasis on the work of the Spirit in preaching and dependence on the Spirit – something that’s left out of the conversation a lot of times. I don’t think there’s anything in my preaching that would live up to the standards of those guys, but I see lots of things that I constantly keep on my radar and want to emulate and want to be shaped by.
What is your process for preparing a sermon? How do you encourage others in this process?
I would start with the encouragement for preachers and teachers to realize their handling God’s Word and communicating to other people is a supernatural event. Consequently, we can’t approach it like normal communication; we’ve got to do it in utter dependence on the Holy Spirit. I think prayer preparation is a huge part of it before, during and after the time the message is prepared. Study the text of scripture to find out why God put it in the Bible because if we don’t know what God is saying, then we don’t have anything to say to people. Sermons and Bible lessons are not just public discourses, but they’re actually the communication of the voice of God. Preaching and teaching the Bible involves the process of studying the text. That’s where the majority of the emphasis is going to be. That’s where I’m going to spend most of my time. I have found that the putting together of the sermon, that flows a lot easier when I know what the message of the text is.
What is one resource you recommend every young pastors and recent seminary graduate?
I hold the conviction that it’s more about the spiritual dynamics and your walk with God. However, I recommend J.I. Packer’s “Knowing God.” There’s also a resource called “Treasury of Scripture Knowledge” that’s cross references of every verse in the Bible.
What is something you’ve been learning in Scripture?
I had been asked to teach part of 1 John for the Women Around Southeastern’s Theological Huddle on campus. Though that was an assignment, I had never really studied that passage in depth before, so it drove me into that text of scripture. God really spoke to my heart and through it and I really feel like it was a personal, spiritual growth relating to the assurance of our salvation. I think the more shaky foundation we see in our culture, the more challenge there is to believers, including my own life, just in regard to our faith. It was a really needed reminder of the solid foundation of our faith.
*This article has been edited for length and clarity