Top 10 Books on Preaching

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Other posts include:

Today I’m listing my Top 10 books on preaching.

After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”

1. Preaching and Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

What a difference it would make to the church if this book was modeled more widely. As the title suggest it is not just about sermons, but about those who preach them – the message and the man. This edition is interspersed with valuable commentary by contemporary preachers like Logon Duncan and Mark Dever.

2. Christ-centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell.

If I was just starting out in preaching, this would be my first purchase. It will anchor your sermons in the text and focus them on Christ. Key insight is the FCF (Fallen Condition Focus).

3. Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today by John Stott.

Good material on the theology of preaching, and good arguments to overcome objections to preaching. Especially good on identifying “The Dominant Thought” of the preaching passage. Also strong on application, but if I was looking for something on application alone, I would choose Truth Applied by Jay Adams.

4. How to Preach Biblically by John Macarthur and the Master’s Seminary Faculty.

As is common with multiple authorship, some chapters overlap and some are a little weak but this is the most comprehensive book on preaching on this list.

5. Feed my Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching by a constellation of outstanding preachers, edited by Don Kistler.

Not for the newbie but if you’ve been preaching for a few years this will take you to the next level.

6. The Preacher and Preaching by various preachers, edited by Sam Logan.

My favorites chapter are Exegesis by Sinclair Ferguson and Sermon Structure and Flow by Glen Knecht. Gwyn Walters’ chapter on The Body in the Pulpit is also fascinating.

7. So Pastor, What’s Your Point? by Dennis Prutow.

Really a complete homiletics course in one large but very practical volume.

8. On The Preparation and Delivery of Sermons by John Broadus.

A bit verbose, but a treasure trove of classic homiletic teaching. Some of it dated, but much-needed “old-fashioned” emphasis on the privilege and dignity of the office of preacher.

9. Lectures to My Students by C.H Spurgeon.

So full of plain common sense and lots of funny stories.

10. How Sermons Work by David Murray.

Hope you’ll forgive me for including this – in my defense, I put it in at #10! Probably the simplest and most practical of the bunch. A good starter or refresher.

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable mentions

If I’d had a Top Twenty the following books would also have been included.

The Imperative of Preaching by John Carrick. Explains the four “moods” of preaching : The indicative, the exclamative, the interrogative, and the imperative, with the emphasis of the book being on the imperative.

 The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper. More focused on the subject of preaching than the method. But if this book doesn’t put fire in your belly, nothing will.

The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges. Covers much more than preaching but still worth it for the preaching material alone.

Preach: Theology Meets Practice by Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert. 40 pages on the theology of preaching, 70 on the practice, and another 60 of sample sermons where the principle and the practice come together.

Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit by Steven W. Smith. His basic thesis is that the nature of our message should impact the way we present and communicate our message. Those who preach a crucified Christ should preach in a crucified style. And even though it is more about style than substance, the whole book is an argument for an absence of style, or, rather, a crucified style.

How To Preach Without Notes by Charles Koller. More specialized, but even if you don’t get to note-less, it will encourage less dependence on notes.

The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text by Sidney Greidanus. A bit more technical but also many practical helps to bridge the gap between the time and culture of when the Bible was written and our own day.

Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon. Fairly negative but needed.

Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine. This and the following book are the two best books on preaching that have been published in the last couple of years. Contemporary, challenging, and encouraging.

Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell. A call for more imagination, creativity, and feeling in preaching. Given the aim (less sleepy hearers), I was surprised at the continued commitment to full manuscript in the pulpit.

How to Evaluate Sermons by Joel Beeke. Although this focuses on the aftermath of preaching, it’s also a great checklist before preaching.

Reader Suggestions

Spirit Empowered Preaching: Involving The Holy Spirit in Your Ministry by Arturo Azurdia

Preaching with Passion by Alex Montoya

The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors by Thabiti Anyabwile

On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching by H B Charles

Sacred Rhetoric by R. L Dabney

Preaching: A Biblical Theology by Jason C. Meyer

Preaching with Purpose by Jay Adams

Preaching? Simply Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer

Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson

Spirit Empowered Preaching by Art Azurdia

The Cross and Christian Ministry by D. A. Carson

Text-Driven Preaching: God’s Word at the Heart of Every Sermon. Edited by David Allen and Daniel Akin.

Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today by David Helm

He is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World by Al Mohler

Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition by Calvin Miller


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What 10 Books Did Your Teenagers Read As Part Of Their HomeSchool Education?
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Christians Get Depressed Too: Sue’s Story

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Study Guide Questions for Sue’s Story (Word/PDF)

For other films in the Christians Get Depressed Too series, click here.


Top 10 Books on Christ in the Old Testament

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Other posts include:

Today I’m listing my top ten books on Christ in the Old Testament – the ones marked with an asterisk are more suitable for pastors and seminary students.

After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”

1. Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament by Christopher Wright.

One of the most eye-opening and thought provoking books I’ve ever read. Guaranteed to make you love Jesus more.

2. Preaching Christ from the Old Testament by Sidney Greidanus.*

Classic seminary textbook. Historical survey of the subject followed by most helpful step-by-step guide to preaching Christ from Old Testament texts.

3. Beginning at Moses by Michael Barrett.

Shorter and more readable than Greidanus but covers a wider range of OT genres.

4. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture by Ed Clowney.

The first two chapters will transform the way you read and teach the Bible. Clowney sets forth the principles and practice of finding Christ in Scripture and then putting together a Christ-centered sermon. This is followed by a number of wonderful sermons that demonstrate the “how.”

5. The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress.*

Especially helpful on typology, not just laying the foundational principles but also explaining numerous examples. Also wonderful insights on the Christ-centered nature of Old Testament law.

6. The Christ of the Covenants by O P Robertson.*

It was the second or third time reading this book before the covenants all fell into place for me. Transformed the Bible and my ministry.

7. Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy.

First part provides the lenses with which to read the Old Testament, followed by many examples of how to preach Christian sermons from different genres of biblical literature. More thematic than exegetical.

8. The Unfolding Mystery by Ed Clowney.

More sample sermons demonstrating how #4 Preaching Christ in All of Scripture is put into practice.

9.  The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis by Nancy Guthrie.

Excellent Bible study series with a good mix of teaching, questions, and discussion starters. See also follow-up Bible studies on various other parts of the Old Testament. See also follow-up Bible studies on various other parts of the Old Testament: The Lamb of God, The Wisdom of God, The Son of David, and The Word of the Lord.

10. Jesus On Every Page by David Murray.

Couldn’t bring myself to make this # 1. I’ll let the voters decide.

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable mentions

If I’d had a Top Twenty the following books would also have been included.

Close Encounters with the Son of God by Jonathan Stephen. If this was still easily available it would have been near the top of the Top Ten List. It deals with the Old Testament Christophanies.

Christ in the Old Testament by Robert Gordon. Again, this four-volume set of sermons would have easily made the Top Ten if it was easier to get.

According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy. A simplified version of Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture.

Christ-centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chappell. Not specifically about preaching Christ from the Old Testament but much of the material will help with that.

A History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards. Covers more than the Old Testament but the Old Testament section, especially the early part, is pure gold.

The Ancient Love Song by Charles Drew. One of the most accessible and readable of books on Christ in the Old Testament.

Messiah in the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser.

Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures by Dennis E. Johnson.

Reader Suggestions

101 Portraits of Jesus on the Old Testament by Bob Beasley (HT: Shawn Anderson)

Look To The Rock by Alec Motyer (HT: Shawn Anderson)

The Messianic Hope by Michael Rydelnik (HT: Dan Phillips)

Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament by Gerard Van Gronigen (HT: Ray Fowler)

On The Trinity by Hilary of Poitiers.

Clavis Cantici by James Durham.

The Prophets Speak of Him by Anthony Salvaggio.

The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever.


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How To Avoid Burnout (HT: Zach Nielsen)
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Body Theology For Teens

I’m on my way back from The Calgary Reformed Conference where I gave three addresses on A Practical Theology of the Body. I also led a Youth Group discussion on the subject and left with them ten words to ponder when thinking about their bodies.

1. Study: God has revealed truth about the body in His Word and in His World (through science). In order to thrive physically, learn what you can from these sources and also by observing your own body’s strengths and weaknesses.

2. Exercise: Bodily exercise does profit – not as much as spiritual exercise but a little is more than nothing (1 Tim. 4:8). In order to serve God well, you need to work to keep your body in good health.

3. Fuel: Just as you take care to put the right kind and amount of gas in your car, do the same with the food and drink you put into your body. This is a stewardship issue with your most valuable resource. Remember the value that God put on your body (1 Cor. 6:20).

4. Rest: God made you to flourish best by working six days and resting a seventh. He also made you to thrive by sleeping. You really can Sleep Your Way to Success.

5. Protect: As the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), you should care for it better than you would your own home or even the White House. Defend your body by avoiding substances that damage it and experiences that can deface, injure, or even kill.

6. Submit: Although we should do #1-5, we must also accept that our fallen bodies are never going to be ideal or perfect. We must therefore submit to the unique and wise way God has designed us and accept our limitations, weaknesses, sicknesses, aging, etc.

7. Cover: God did not only make your body, he also made clothes to cover it for your own protection and also that of others (Gen. 3:21). And remember there are no prizes for covering in such a way that more is revealed than concealed. But neither is there a prize for covering with the ugliest fabrics, colors and designs.

8. Control: Your body has been imbalanced by sin and can easily take good passions for beauty, sex, strength, food, etc. and turn them into destructive lusts and obsessional desires. Be aware of your own particular weaknesses and take care not to fuel them so that they become your tyrannical master (1 Cor. 6:12)

9. Dedicate: Your body is from God and for God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

10. Worship: Remember that Jesus took a real human nature, including a complete body with all its weaknesses and limitations (apart from sin). He also laid down that body to suffer and die for sinners like you, so that He could say, “This is my body, broken for you. Take, eat, in remembrance of me.”

What other words would you add?

Any books you would recommend on the subject for this age group? There are some good chapters in Matthew Lee Anderson’s book Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter To Our Faith, but I don’t think it’s very suitable for this age group.