Top Ten List

Recently I was asked to make some recommendations for what the person should read next. I quickly assessed what the questioner had already read and then suggested Florence and Lose. Because of that moment, I decided to publish a top ten list. Of course, the making of books there is no end, so too is my list.

Top Ten List

[in alphabetical order]

  1. Buttrick, David G. Homiletic: Moves and Structures. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987. A comprehensive text on homiletical method.
  2. Campbell, Charles L. Preaching Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. An introduction to a post-liberal homiletic.
  3. Childers, Jana. Purposes of Preaching. St. Louis: Chalice, 2004. A series of essays from leading homileticians discussing the heart and soul of preaching.
  4. Eslinger, Richard L. The Web of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 2002. An introduction to the most notable methods of preaching.
  5. Florence, Anna Carter. Preaching as Testimony. Louisville, Westminster/John Knox, 2007. A theology of preaching that offers a hopeful future for the 21st century. An excellent follow-up book once you have read Lose (below).
  6. Gowan, Donald E. Reclaiming the Old Testament for the Christian Pulpit. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1980. One of the few books that discusses preaching the OT from a perspective that I support. See also Davis, Ellen. Wondrous Depth: Preaching the Old Testament. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2005.
  7. Lischer, Richard. A Theology of Preaching. Durham, NC: The Labyrinth Press, 1981. The best book on the theology of preaching available.
  8. Long, Thomas G. Preaching from Memory to Hope. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2009. The newest book on my list because it offers insight to a new generation of preachers who are mediating the gospel for a more “episodic” world.
  9. Lose, David J. Confessing Jesus Christ: Preaching in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. A necessary conversation partner with Charles Campbell (above). Lose offers the theology of testimony as a counter to the post-liberal homiletic.
  10. Nieman, James. Knowing the Context: Frames, Tools, and Signs for Preaching. Philadelphia: Fortress, 2008. Every good preacher is also an excellent pastor. Pastors must begin their work by knowing how to listen.
  11. Webb, Stephen. The Divine Voice: Christian Proclamation and the Theology of Sound. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2004. An excellent discussion of the theology of proclamation.


Other Related Topics
1. Performance Studies

  • Childers, Jana. Performing the Word. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998.
  • Childers, Jana and Clayton J. Schmit (eds.) Performance in Preaching: Bringing the Sermon to Life. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.

2. History

  • Wilson, Paul Scott. A Concise History of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1992.

3. Rhetoric

  • Corbett, Edward P.J. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • Wilder, Amos N. Early Christian Rhetoric: The Language of the Gospel. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.
  • Bullock, Jeffrey Francis. Preaching with a Cupped Ear: Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Philosophical Hermeneutics as Postmodern Wor(l)d. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
  • Hogan, Lucy Lind and Robert Reid. Connecting with the Congregation: Rhetoric and the Art of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.

4. Classic Texts

  • Craddock, Fred B. Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1985. (and other texts written by Craddock)
  • Davis, H. Grady. Design for Preaching. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1958.

And as you know, making such a list says more about me than it says about the field of homiletics. For a more complete list of what I have on my shelf, see the bibliographies listed on the resources page or my article “After the Craddock Revolution: A Bibliographic Essay.” Leaven 11 (Fourth Quarter 2003): 211-219. You can download the article After Craddock here.