If you attend a church with a screaming preacher, you may wonder if their boisterous style is biblically supported. This comprehensive article will examine what the Bible says about loud, animated preaching.
If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: While the Bible shows some impassioned preachers, it does not endorse screaming or browbeating congregations. Effective preaching should focus on teaching God’s Word rather than drawing attention to the preacher.
Examples of Loud Preachers in the Bible
Jesus Overturning Money Changers’ Tables
One of the most well-known examples of Jesus displaying righteous anger is when He overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple courts (Matthew 21:12-13). He shouted with zeal as He drove them out, declaring “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers'”.
His loud voice echoed His passion for honoring God’s house.
Peter Preaching at Pentecost
When the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, Peter stood up with the eleven disciples and boldly proclaimed the gospel in a loud voice to the crowds (Acts 2:14-36). His zealous preaching led 3000 people to repent and believe that day.
The sound of their praises to God must have been boisterously loud with joy and excitement.
Paul’s Bold Preaching
Paul was known for his daring and powerful preaching to both small and large crowds. In Ephesus he went into the synagogue and spoke out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading people about the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8).
His strong voice carried conviction as he sought to win people for Christ.
Principles for Biblical Preaching
Preach with Authority, Not Just Volume
While passion and conviction are important in preaching God’s word, the manner in which the message is delivered matters. Scripture encourages preachers to speak with authority, not merely raising their voice to elicit a reaction (Titus 2:15).
This authority comes from God’s word itself, not the preacher. So instead of trying to shock or cajole the congregation through screaming, focus on teaching the biblical truths with clarity, gravity and love.
Teach and Exhort, Don’t Berate
A good preacher aims to teach and encourage growth, not just condemn sin from the pulpit (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2). Certainly, sin must be addressed, but do so constructively, with patience and care. Screaming angrily at church members often breeds resentment, not repentance.
As one pastor said, “We should be ‘loving someone out of their sin instead of screaming them out of it.'” So preach truth, but season it with grace (Colossians 4:6).
Speak with Love, Not Anger
While righteous anger has its place, as Jesus demonstrated, screaming due to loss of temper is counterproductive (Ephesians 4:26). As Scripture urges, “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Lovingly challenge congregants when needed, but don’t verbally attack them.
One study found that 95% of churchgoers find screaming preachers offensive. As important as truth is, without love it will not produce life change (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). We must present truth compassionately if we want people to receive it.
Focus on the Gospel, Not Performance
When preaching, it’s important to keep the focus on sharing the gospel rather than promoting oneself. As 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 reminds us, our words should demonstrate the Spirit’s power, not our own eloquence.
Rather than showing off our public speaking skills with theatrics, we must humbly rely on God’s wisdom to reach people’s hearts. An over-the-top, look-at-me style distracts from the real message of Christ’s love and salvation.
Prioritize Content over Style
While passion and conviction are important when preaching, the content of the message must take priority over style or delivery. Strong substance with clear, Bible-based teaching will last longer than hype or entertainment.
As Paul writes, “my message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” Solid, scriptural preaching may not get the same initial reaction as flashy rhetoric, but it plants seeds for long-term growth and genuine conviction.
We should look to preach truth rather than to put on a dazzling show.
Let the Spirit Lead
Rather than engineering an experience, preachers must let the Holy Spirit take control. As Jesus promised, the Spirit teaches us what to say (Luke 12:12). This requires spending time in prayerful study and preparation rather than just working up our own excitement.
While passion is good, manufacturing emotions often backfires. People can sense what’s genuine. To preach with holy passion, we must submit fully to God’s leading with sensitive hearts, open minds, and a courageous spirit.
With the Spirit’s help, our authentic zeal will arise naturally from the empowering truth of Scripture.
When Loud Preaching Crosses the Line
Yelling as Intimidation
Some preachers seem to believe that the louder they yell, the more impact their message will have. But screaming at people from the pulpit is often counterproductive. As the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
When preachers scream at their congregations, it can come across as intimidating or aggressive rather than caring.
Yelling loudly also doesn’t necessarily mean the preacher’s message is from God. The content and biblical truth of the sermon is more important than the volume at which it is delivered. As 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”
Seeking Applause Rather than Life Change
Some preachers who yell and put on a big performance seem more focused on getting a reaction from the crowd than on truly impacting hearts and lives. Their priority becomes entertaining rather than teaching truth.
But drawing cheers or even laughter from the crowd means little if people leave unchanged.
As 2 Timothy 4:2-3 warns, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Preachers are called to preach biblical truth even when it’s hard for people to receive.
Drowning Out Other Biblical Truths
When preachers shout about a few select topics over and over, it can imply those issues are the only important ones. But God’s Word contains many life-giving truths that need equal attention. For example, preachers may frequently yell condemnations about specific sins while neglecting Biblical teachings on grace, forgiveness, and Christlike living.
As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” If we elevate some Scriptures over others, our message becomes unbalanced.
The Bible does not explicitly prohibit yelling from the pulpit. But preachers should carefully check their motives to make sure their style ultimately serves their congregation rather than themselves. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 advises, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
This includes even how we preach the Word of God.
Other Biblical Qualities for Preachers
Preachers should focus on teaching sound biblical doctrine that is faithful to God’s word (Titus 2:1). They must handle Scripture correctly and avoid false teachings that can lead people astray (2 Timothy 2:15).
Preachers have a duty to preach the truth even when it is difficult or unpopular (2 Timothy 4:2-4). They should emphasize core doctrines like the gospel message, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith.
Although preachers have authority to preach God’s word, they must do so with humility rather than pride or arrogance (1 Peter 5:5-6). The most effective preachers realize they are messengers rather than the source of truth.
They point people to Jesus rather than seeking honor for themselves (John 3:30). Humbleness enables preachers to admit when they are wrong and create an environment where people feel comfortable approaching them.
Preaching requires great patience. Preachers need patience to study Scripture thoroughly, pray for wisdom, and thoughtfully prepare sermons week after week. They need patience with themselves when sermons do not come together easily.
They also need patience with the congregation by preaching at a level people can understand and sticking with difficult biblical truths until the people grasp them. Impatience can lead to taking shortcuts in sermon prep or presenting truth in a way that fails to meet people’s needs.
As James 1:19 says, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
Preachers must exercise self-control, especially when it comes to their speech and conduct. Their visible sins can greatly damage their ministry and the reputation of the church (1 Timothy 3:2-3). Rather than reacting in anger or impatience, preachers should display the fruit of the Spirit, which includes self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Self-control enables preachers to avoid inappropriate outbursts and filter their speech in a godly manner. It also empowers them to lead by example when it comes to areas like healthy eating, sexual purity, and wise financial stewardship.
In summary, the Bible shows godly passion is good in preaching, but screaming and berating is not. Effective preachers focus on teaching God’s Word accurately and lovingly without drawing undue attention to themselves. Most importantly, biblical preaching should aim to exalt Christ, not the preacher.