Review: The Moody Handbook of Preaching, edited by John Koessler

It’s been a while since I added a book review to the site, so here’s a fresh book worthy of your consideration. This new work from Moody Press recently dropped through my door. I have not read it all, but I have read enough. I have read enough to recognize that this is a very helpful book for preachers.

It is written by faculty members and associates of Moody Bible Institute and Moody Graduate School. Each writer writes in their own area of expertise and this creates a collection of some quality. It is easy to think that only homiletics profs are seeking to produce preachers, thereby forgetting the specific skills and input of other members of a good Bible school faculty. This book redresses that balance.

The book’s 27 chapters are divided into four sections. The first section is Forming a Philosophy of Preaching, which includes chapters from the present and two former presidents of Moody. Section two is entitled, Mining the Text. This section addresses the interpretation of narrative, didactic, poetic and prophetic literature, as well as two chapters on the use of Hebrew and Greek in preparation and in preaching (amen and amen to some of the advice given in The Use and Abuse of Greek in Preaching).

The third section is entitled Illustrating Truth with chapters on the use of comparison, history, story, drama and technology. Finally the fourth section is entitled Developing Methodology. This final catch-all section includes chapters on audience analysis, sermon movement, delivery and the use of Bible software (not sure why this is not in section 2).

Although I see no formal endorsement by Haddon Robinson, his name is blazoned across the back cover under a quote that has driven the editor of the book, John Koessler, to compile this book. The quote is typical Robinson, “Why is it that some can preach for an hour and it seems like five minutes, while others preach for only five minutes and it seems like an hour?” Good question. And this book is a worthy addition to the many books that seek to answer it.

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