I appreciate the opportunity to put in a guest post on The Ministry Wire. I always enjoy the content here and am looking forward to many more good posts from these guys in the future.
Everybody should have a hobby! I have a few, but one of my favorite hobbies is reading. I read for fun, of course, but I also read for my own benefit- to grow and learn. As a young preacher, I enjoy reading books on preaching in order to try to continually improve my craft. While we certainly should prepare ourselves spiritually before we preach, there’s no excuse for not also studying both the passages we preach and the art of preaching itself. Here are a few books on preaching that have been especially helpful to me.
Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages by Haddon W. Robinson
This book is a classic. If you attended Heartland Baptist Bible College, this was your homiletics textbook. Haddon Robinson does a solid job explaining what expository preaching is, why it is important, and how to do it. The weakness of Biblical Preaching is that it tends to be a little stiff in its format of sermon development, but you won’t go wrong in following Robinson’s advice!
Invitation to Biblical Preaching: Proclaiming Truth with Clarity and Relevance by Donald R. Sunukjian
If you only read one book on preaching, read this one! Sunukjian (who dedicates his book to Haddon Robinson) makes expository preaching simple through his definition and explanation of biblical preaching. Sunukjian starts with this definition of a biblical preacher: one who says “Look at what God is saying to us.” Where this book especially shines is in the process of sermon development, particularly outlining. Sunijikan’s explanation that the flow of the text facilitates the flow of the sermon outline was particularly helpful to me.
Preaching and Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
If you’ve ever had a favorite professor, and it didn’t matter what he was teaching, you just enjoyed sitting and listening to him- that’s what it feels like to read this book! Preaching and Preachers is a compilation of a series of lectures D. Martyn Lloyd Jones (toward the end of his ministry) gave at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1969. Don’t worry, it doesn’t feel dated! Jones critiques many things in the Evangelical movement of his day, and says that he’s seen them all before under different names. Things come full circle, and nearly 50 years later, churches are still dealing with the same false teachings, repackaged and made to look fresh. Perhaps the thing I love most about this book is how opinionated Jones is! I don’t agree with all of his opinions, but it is refreshing to hear someone speak so bluntly and step on some toes. While this book isn’t written as a manual to teach you how to prepare a sermon, it will make you a better preacher if you engage with its truths.
Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today by John R. W. Stott
This book is less about the how of expository preaching than it is about the why. Stott uses this book to unpack his philosophy of expository preaching, what it is and why it is important. He also does a great job emphasizing that preaching must be both faithful to the original text and relevant to people today. Fail at either of these, and you have not preached.
Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell
A very good resource on preaching, though sometimes a bit dry and technical. The most helpful aspects of this book are the Fallen Condition Focus (especially in the first two chapters) and the emphasis on redemptive theology (the last two chapters). The book is certainly worth reading for these two topics alone! The rest of the book is basically a general preaching textbook: good, but not groundbreaking. For an introduction to preaching techniques, start with Sunukjian or Haddon Robinson, but if you’re interested in deepening your understanding of preaching, by all means read this book!