Sometime in the mid 1990’s, I attended a Founder’s Conference national meeting in Birmingham, AL. John Piper was one of the plenary speakers that particular year, and in a Q & A with seminary students, he encouraged us to pick one area of scholarship and keep up with it after we graduated. His reasoning was sound: you can’t keep up on every area (OT, NT, Church History, etc.), but you can stay up to date in one area. I chose preaching. It’s what I think about when I’m not preaching. Given the choice, I’ll always choose to read a book related to preaching. So, in no particular order, here are my 10 favorite books on preaching:
- The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narratives by Dale Ralph Davis. (Dude is The King of preaching OT narratives. Never in a hurry to get to Christ too soon, but lets the distinct voice of the OT be heard).
- Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence. (OK, so not a preaching book per se, but falls into the must read category if we would preach the entire story of God’s redemptive plan.)
- Expositional Preaching by David Helm. (If you had to pick one book from this list, this is where I would begin. Short and powerful – the “Yoda” of preaching volumes.)
- Preaching by Tim Keller. (I know it’s the trendy pick: “That Tim Keller, he’s so hot right now.” The endnotes are a gold mine, so take the time to read them. I’m stunned at how much of the preaching corpus he interacts with in the book.)
- Preaching: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer. (The distillation of a long, faithful ministry in one shorter book? Yes, please.)
- Saving Eutychus by Phil Campbell and Gary Millar. (Brings together several interesting concepts from the wider preaching corpus in very helpful, practical ways. Only book I know that fuses Haddon Robinson, Graeme Goldsworthy, and Jerry Vines.)
- Preaching and Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (The classic 20th century, evangelical work on preaching. If you get the recent volume with contemporary commentary, go back to the comments after you’ve read the book yourself. The comments will make more sense and be more helpful that way.)
- Speaking God’s Words by Peter Adam. (Think of this book as the heavy squat day of your preaching library. It’s the theological tour de force you want to form the foundation of your preaching ministry. Worth the price of the book just for the foreword by Kent Hughes.)
- Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon. (Johnny can’t preach ‘cause he can’t read a dang book. Powerful and convicting stuff in an age of Interwebs skim reading and iTunes sermon listening as acceptable, primary means of sermon preparation.)
- Text Messaging by Douglas Webster. (The “huh?” pick on the list. Short, subtle and thought provoking. “Text to table” is an amazingly helpful construct.)
Kyle McClellan is pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Fremont, Nebraska. He has degrees from Taylor University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the author of Mea Culpa: Learning from mistakes in ministry. He is married to Amy and has two children.