What Are Your Go-To Preaching Text Books?

A couple weeks back, Tim Keller’s new book Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism was released. I have it waiting for me on my Kindle once the craziness of moving slows down. Also waiting for me is The Collected Sermons of Fred B. Craddock which is only $2.99 on Kindle right now (as of 6/25/2015).

This got me thinking about what kinds of preaching books we use. Thanks to seminary and the Friends of the Library Book Sale, I have a pretty good mix of preaching theory and collected sermons. However, the challenge with any preaching book is how to handle context. On the theoretical side, books seem to either be so specific that they espouse one template, or they are so vague that all they essentially say is “study the Bible, pray, write something good, and deliver it well.”

Turning to the collection side, it is always inspiring to read works by John Wesley, Barbara Brown Taylor, Frederick Buechner, and others, but great sermons are at their best when they harmonize the voice of the preacher with what God is doing in the lives of the community. We have to do the hard work of figuring out why it worked so well then, why it works in print now, and how we can apply the underlying principles, or we end up doing impressions of great preachers. I know my generation is full of young preachers who had “Rob Bell phases.”

So, I turn the questions to you:

  • What preaching books/webcasts/videos reside on your shelf (analog or digital)?
  • Which have meant the most or been the most helpful to you and why? Which are the least?
  • What’s the oldest preaching resource you have encountered and what’s the newest?
  • Are there gaps in the collection? What kind of preaching resources do you wish existed, or what great preacher would you like to see collected?

Image by Flickr user Scott Barkley. Used under Creative Commons License. Edited from Original.

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