Classic Books On Preaching: An Annotated Bibliography -- By: John W. Carlton

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 03:1 (Fall 1985)
Article: Classic Books On Preaching: An Annotated Bibliography
Author: John W. Carlton

Classic Books On Preaching:
An Annotated Bibliography

John W. Carlton

Professor of Preaching, Southeastern
Baptist Theological Seminary

The compilation of an annotated bibliography of twenty-five of the “classic” books in preaching is a presumptuous venture. The appended list is assembled with the true meaning of “classic” in mind—”of first rank or authority, standard, leading.” Most of the works listed are lectures given or books written prior to 1950. The Lyman Beecher Lectures in Preaching in America and the Warrack series in Scotland are liberally represented.

Here is a fascinating gallery of great personalities, most of them deceased, whose voices carry clearly across the years. They represent a rich variety of human nature and experience. They confer a halo of majesty and romance around the preacher’s high calling. They are all craftsmen of sermonic artistry.

These lectures and books reflect the tensions, turmoils, and fundamental social changes of the years and also reveal transformations of sermonic form from traditional oratory to direct, conversational speech. Readers of these volumes will also be impressed with a certain constancy—recurrent themes and affirmations that are a moving demonstration of “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” These books represent a great homiletical heritage, and their authors are able mentors for us today. Henry Ward Beecher said in 1872: “True preaching is yet to come.” We shall see!

Barth, Karl. The Preaching of the Gospel. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963.

In this small volume the eminent theologian devotes himself to the area of practical theology in a rich treatment of preaching in relation to revelation, the church, doctrine, Scripture, and to the congregation. The principles enunciated are illustrated in actual examples.

Black, James. The Mystery of Preaching. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978.

These lectures, delivered originally in 1924 to the United Free Church Colleges in Scotland and later as the Sprunt Lectures at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, retain the liveliness and free style that marked their delivery. They abound in a true sense of the “mystery” of preaching; yet they attend to matters of preparation and delivery with rare wisdom and insight. An element of real strength is the setting of the sermon within the context of worship.

Broadus, John A. On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. New York: Harper and Row (Fourth Edition), 1979.

This book is the best known and the most wi...

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