Contemporary Books On Preaching -- By: Thomas R. McKibbens

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 03:1 (Fall 1985)
Article: Contemporary Books On Preaching
Author: Thomas R. McKibbens

Contemporary Books On Preaching

Thomas R. McKibbens

Associate Professor of Preaching,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Simply to keep up with the seemingly endless flow of books on preaching is well-nigh impossible, even for a preaching professor. To select twenty-five volumes as the best contemporary books on the subject is a more difficult task still.

The following list with short annotations is necessarily subjective—what else could it be? It reflects known and unknown biases on my part, although I have tried to select a wide range of viewpoints representing the best current homiletieal literature. Note that I did not include any books on the history of preaching, a fact which in no way reflects a bias against history. Rather, I tried to confine myself to books emphasizing methods of interpretation and sermon preparation. All of the books selected are aimed at the practical needs of pastors who are already overworked and need every possible help in accomplishing the task of preaching solid sermons on a regular basis.

Above all, I selected the following books for the transparent reason that I simply liked them. They spoke and still speak to me and my needs. They may not do the same for you, but at least they may serve as a springboard for you into the fascinating literature of homiletics.

Achtemeier, Elizabeth. Creative Preaching: Finding the Words. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1980.

Part of the Abingdon Preacher’s Library, this small volume is large in depth and creative ideas. Achtemeier focuses on the language of the sermon and shows how skill with logic, style, and the use of images and metaphors can be learned. Her emphasis on the craft of good language is “to allow the release of the active Word of God to do its judging and saving work.”

Best, Ernest. From Text to Sermon. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1978.

Best, who succeeded William Barclay as Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, has provided an excellent resource and guide to effective exegesis for the pastor. Though the book is written primarily from a NT perspective, it is especially good in describing ways to build a hermeneutieal bridge between the ancient culture and world views and ours.

Buechner, Frederick. Telling the Truth: the Gospel As Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale. New York: Harper and Row, 1977.

There seems to be no neutral ground on Buechner. People tend either to love his writing or hate it. Regardless of where you land, the flight through his poetic-like prose is an experience you will not soo...

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