There are many commentaries and other preaching-related books in the world.  Where can one begin in selecting quality volumes?  Perhaps right here!  Thanks to input from the Faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary, we have a curated list of recommended commentaries and other books for you to consider.  Even so, this is not an exhaustive list of quality commentaries and books but these are volumes to consider strongly for use in preaching.

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Preaching Books: General

Actuality: Real Life Stories for Sermons that Matter

Author: Hoezee, Scott Publisher: Abingdon Press, 2014 Preachers need stories. Stories, examples, and illustrations bring sermons to life.  Learn how to find those stories and how to use them.

Beautiful Light: Religious Meaning in Film

Author: Anker, Roy M.

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2017

Blue-Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World

by Otis Moss III

Westminster John Knox Press, 2015

Amazon link

Broken Words: Reflections on the Craft of Preaching

by Paul Scott Wilson

Abingdon Press, 2004

Calvin's Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension

Author: Canlis, Julie

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2010

Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope

by Luke Powery

Fortress Press, 2012

Amazon link

Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

Author: Smith, James K. A.

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2009

Dwelling with Philippians: A Conversation with Scripture through Image and Word (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies)

Editors: Halstead, Elizabeth Steele, Paul Detterman, Joyce Borger, and John D. Witvliet

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2010

Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope

by Kenyatta R. Gilbert

Abingdon Press, 2018

Amazon link

Finally Comes The Poet: Daring Speech for Proclamation

by Walter Brueggemann

Fortress Press, 1989

How Shall They Preach: The Lyman Beecher Lectures and Five Lenten Sermons

by Gardner Taylor

Progressive Baptist Publishing House, 1977

Amazon link

How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture

Author: Williams, Michael

Publisher: Zondervan, 2012

I Believe I'll Testify: The Art of African American Preaching

by Cleophus LaRue

Westminster John Knox Press, 2011

Amazon link

Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Cultural Liturgies)

Author: Smith, James K. A.

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2013

Introduction to the Practice of African American Preaching

by Frank Thomas

Abingdon Press, 2016

Amazon link


Learning from a Legend: What Gardner C. Taylor Can Teach Us about Preaching

by Jared Alcantara

Cascade Books, 2016

Amazon link

Meditations on Preaching

Author: Francis James Grimké

Publisher: Log College Press, 2018

Amazon link

Preaching at the Crossroads: How the World-and Our Preaching-Is Changing

Author: Lose, David J.

Publisher: Fortress Press, 2013

Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons

Author: Greidanus, Sidney

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2012

Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes: Foundations for Expository Sermons

Author: Greidanus, Sidney

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2010

Preaching from the Old Testament

Author: Achtemeier, Elizabeth

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989

An interpretation of the Old Testament showing that the Word of God in the Old Testament is also the Word to the present-day church.

Preaching God's Grand Drama

by Ahmi Lee

Baker Academic, 2019

Amazon link

Preaching: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Fred Craddock

Abingdon Press, 2010

Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists

Author: Plantinga, Cornelius

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2013

In Reading for Preaching Cornelius Plantinga makes a striking claim: preachers who read widely will most likely become better preachers.  Plantinga — himself a master preacher — shows how a wide reading program can benefit preachers. First, he says, good reading generates delight, and the preacher who enters the world of delight goes with God. Good reading can also help tune the preacher’s ear for language — his or her primary tool. General reading can enlarge the preacher’s sympathies for people and situations that she or he had previously known nothing about. And, above all, the preacher who reads widely has the chance to become wise.

Say It! Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African-American Tradition

by Eric C. Redmond

Moody Publishers, 2020

Amazon link

Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in Preaching

by Luke Powery

Abingdon Press, 2019

Amazon link

Spirit-Led Preaching: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Sermon Preparation and Delivery

by Greg Heisler

B&H Academic, revised 2019

Amazon link

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

Author: Visser, Edward C.

Publisher: WestBow Press, 2017


The Four Pages of the Sermon, Revised and Updated: A Guide to Biblical Preaching

by Paul Scott Wilson

Abingdon Press, 2018

The Holy Spirit & Preaching

by James Forbes

Abingdon Press, 2010

Amazon link

The Last Blues Preacher: Reverend Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Faith That Woke the Nation

by Zach Mills

Fortress Press, 2018

Amazon link


The Magnificent Defeat

by Frederick Buechner

HarperOne, reprint edition, 1985

The Practice of Preaching: Revised Edition

Author: Wilson, Paul Scott

Publisher: Abingdon Press, 2007

The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipating Word

by Walter Brueggemann

Fortress Press, 2012

The Practices of Christian Preaching: Essentials for Effective Proclamation

by Jared Alcantara

Baker Academic, 2019

Amazon link

The Psalms as Christian Worship: An Historical Commentary

Author: Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2010

They Like to Never Quit Praisin' God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching

By Frank Thomas

Pilgrim Press, updated edition, 2013

Amazon link

Were You There?

by Luke Powery

Westminster John Knox Press, 2019

Amazon link

Whose Gospel?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Protestantism

by James Forbes

The New Press, 2010

Amazon link

Old Testament Reference Works

A Biblical History of Israel, 2nd edition

Author: Provain, Iain W., V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015

A Survey of the Old Testament, 3rd ed.

Author:  Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton

Publisher: Zondervan, 2009

Explores the purpose and message of each book. Literary approach. Introduces the reader to Israelite and Near Eastern history, archaeology, the formation of the canon, and geography.

An Introduction to the Old Testament: Second Edition

Author:  Dillard, Raymond and Tremper Longman III

Publisher: Zondervan, 2006

Evangelical in its perspective. Interacts spirit with the historical-critical method

Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context

Author:  Walton, John H.

Publisher: Zondervan, 1994

Surveys within the various literary genres the parallels between the Bible and the literature of the ancient Near East. Evangelical in approach

Covenant and Creation: A Theology of Old Testament Covenants

Author:  Dumbrell, William

Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub.; Reprint Edition 2009

Demonstrates God’s developing relationship with his people leading toward a new covenant and a new creation.

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

Author:  Ryken, Leland, James C. Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III, eds.

Publisher: Intervarsity Press, 1998

Explores the images, symbols, motifs, metaphors and literary patterns found in the Bible

Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture

Author:  Childs, Brevard

Publisher: Fortress Press, 1979

Seeks to describe the form and function of the Hebrew Bible in its role as sacred scripture for Israel.


The Context of Scripture, 3 volume set

Author:  Hallo, William W. and K. Lawson Younger, eds.

Publisher: Brill Academic Pub., 2003

Canonical Compositions, Monumental Inscriptions and Archival Doucuments from the Biblical World

The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated

Author:  Garcia, F.

Publisher: Eerdmans, 1996

Includes introductions to each manuscript with a history of its discovery and its historical context

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4 volumes

Author:  Bromiley, Geoffrey, ed.

Publisher: Eerdmans, 1996

Contains articles on persons and places mentioned in the Bible, words in the Bible that have significant theological or ethical meaning, and terminology that touches on the transmission and interpretation of the Bible. A great preaching resource — delivers a lot of information quickly.

The Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Near East Iconography and the Book of Psalms

Author:  Keel, Othmar

Publisher: Eisenbrauns, 1977

Great for cultural background

New Testament Reference Works

All Roads Lead to the Text: Eight Methods of Inquiry into the Bible

Author: Deppe, Dean

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2011

An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed.

Author:  Carson, D.A., and Moo, Douglas J.

Publisher: Zondervan, 2005

This second edition reflects significant revision and expansion from the original, making this highly acclaimed text even more valuable.

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Editors: G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson


Craig L. Blomberg (Denver Seminary) on Matthew
Rikk E. Watts (Regent College) on Mark
David W. Pao (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Eckhard J. Schnabel (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on Luke
Andreas J. Köstenberger (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) on John
I. Howard Marshall (University of Aberdeen) on Acts
Mark A. Seifrid (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) on Romans
Roy E. Ciampa (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) and Brian S. Rosner (Moore Theological College) on 1 Corinthians
Peter Balla (Károli Gáspár Reformed University, Budapest) on 2 Corinthians
Moisés Silva (author of Philippians in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) on Galatians and Philippians
Frank S. Thielman (Beeson Divinity School) on Ephesians
G. K. Beale (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Colossians
Jeffrey A. D. Weima (Calvin Theological Seminary) on 1 and 2 Thessalonians
Philip H. Towner (United Bible Societies) on 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus
George H. Guthrie (Union University) on Hebrews
D. A. Carson (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on the General Epistles
G. K. Beale (Wheaton College Graduate School) and Sean M. McDonough (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) on Revelation

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2007

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP Bible Dictionary), 2nd edition

Author:  Green, Joel B., Jeannine K. Brown and Nicholas Perrin, eds.

Publisher: IVP Academic, 2013

The second edition of the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels is a thoroughly reconstructed and revised version of the critically acclaimed 1992 first edition

Dictionary of New Testament Background

Author:  Evans, Craig A. and Stanley E. Porter, Jr.

Publisher: Intervarsity Press, 2000

Interpreting the New Testament

Authors: Black, David Alan & David S. Dockery, eds.

Publisher: Broadman & Holdman Academic, 2001

Amazon link

Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology

Authors: Achtemeier, Paul, Joel Green, and Marianne Meye Thompson

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2001

Jesus and the Victory of God

Author:  Wright, N.T.

Publisher: SPCK Publishing, 1996

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 4 vol. set

Author:  Brown, Colin

Publisher: Zondervan, 1986

Paul the Ancient Letter Writer: An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis

Author: Weima, Jeffrey A. D.

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2016

Studying the Synoptic Gospels: Origin and Interpretation

Author: Stein, Robert H.

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2001

The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation, A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics

Author: Hays, Richard B.

Publisher: HarperOne, 1996


The Theology of the New Testament

Author:  Ladd, George Eldon

Publisher: Eerdmans, 1003

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary

Author:  Arnold, Clinton E. ed.

Publisher: Zondervan, 2002

Commentary Surveys

Commentary and Reference Survey: A Comprehensive Guide to Biblical and Theological Resources, 10th ed.

Author:  Glynn, John

Publisher: Kregel, 2007

Now in its tenth edition, this reliable, acclaimed guide lists and ranks approximately 900 commentaries and 1,600 other biblical resources for the benefit of professors, Bible students, and pastors. Two new chapters on exegetical software round out this comprehensive guide.


New Testament Commentary Survey, 7th ed.

Author:  Carson, D.A.

Publisher: Baker, 2013

Highly respected New Testament scholar D. A. Carson provides students and pastors with expert guidance on choosing a commentary for any book of the New Testament. The seventh edition has been updated to assess the most recently published commentaries. Carson examines sets, one-volume commentaries, and New Testament introductions and theologies, offering evaluative comments on the available offerings for each New Testament book. This is an essential guide to building a reference library.

Old Testament Commentary Survey, 5th ed.

Author:  Longman III, Tremper

Publisher: Baker, 2013

Leading Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III provides students and pastors with expert guidance on choosing a commentary for any book of the Old Testament. The fifth edition has been updated to assess the most recently published commentaries, providing evaluative comments. Longman lists a number of works available for each book of the Old Testament, gives a brief indication of their emphases and viewpoints, and evaluates them. The result is a balanced, sensible guide for those who preach and teach the Old Testament and need help in choosing the best tools.

Commentary Series and Single Volume Works

Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries

Author:  Heibert, Theodore, et. al. eds.

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Critical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament – intended for theological students and pastors

Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible

Author:  Dunn, James D. G. and John W. Rogerson, eds.

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2003

Good layperson’s resource


New Interpreter's Bible

Author:  Keck, Leander, ed.

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Broad range of applications. Commentary verse by verse and reflection on practical issues.

The Expositor's Bible Commentary

Author:  Gaebelein, Frank E., ed.

Publisher: Zondervan, 1991

Good for general use

Intertestamental Reference Works

An Introduction to Early Judaism

Author: Vanderkam, James C.

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2000

The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism

Author: Collins, John J. (editor), Daniel C. Harlow (editor)

Publisher: Eerdmans, 2010

Preaching Books: Collections

A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces

by Frederick Buechner

HarperOne, Reissue edition, 1992

As One Without Authority: Fourth Edition Revised and with New Sermons

by Fred Craddock

Chalice Press, 2001

Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present

by Martha Simmons and Frank Thomas, editors

W. W. Norton & Company, 2010

Amazon link

The Words of Gardner Taylor - 5 Volumes

by Gardner Taylor, compiled by Eric Taylor

Judson Press, 2000

Amazon link