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

A Little Handbook for Preachers: Ten Practical Ways to a Better Sermon by Sunday

Mary Hulst     IVP Books, 2016

Actuality: Real Life Stories for Sermons that Matter

Scott Hoezee

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

Roy M. Anker

Eerdmans, 2017

Blue-Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World

by Otis Moss III

Westminster John Knox Press, 2015

Broken Words: Reflections on the Craft of Preaching

Paul Scott Wilson

Abingdon Press, 2004

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

Julie Canlis

Eerdmans, 2010

Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope

Luke Powery

Fortress Press, 2012

Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

James K. A. Smith

Baker Academic, 2009

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

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

Eerdmans, 2010

Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope

by Kenyatta R. Gilbert

Abingdon Press, 2018

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

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

By Michael Williams

Zondervan, 2012

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

by Cleophus LaRue

Westminster John Knox Press, 2011

Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Cultural Liturgies)

By James K. A. Smith

Baker Academic, 2013

Introduction to the Practice of African American Preaching

by Frank Thomas

Abingdon Press, 2016


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

by Jared Alcantara

Cascade Books, 2016

Meditations on Preaching

Francis James Grimké

Log College Press, 2018

Preaching as Local Theology and Folk Art

by Leonora Tubbs Tisdale

Fortress Press, 1996

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

By David J. Lose

Fortress Press, 2013

Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons

By Sidney Greidanus

Eerdmans, 2012

Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes: Foundations for Expository Sermons

By Sidney Greidanus

Eerdmans, 2010

Preaching Christ From Leviticus: Foundations for Expository Sermons

Sid Greidanus

Eerdmans, 2021

This book is part of a series entitled “Preaching Christ from…. ” by Sid Greidanus, published by Eerdmans.

Check the Eerdmans website for more titles.


Preaching from the Old Testament

Elizabeth Achtemeier

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


Preaching Jesus Christ Today: Six Questions for Moving from Scripture to Sermon

by Annette Brownlee

Baker Academic, 2018

Preaching That Matters: Reflective Practices for Transforming Sermons

by Lori J. Carrell

Roman & Littlefield, 2013

Preaching: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Fred Craddock

Abingdon Press, 2010

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

By Cornelius Plantinga

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

Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in Preaching

by Luke Powery

Abingdon Press, 2019

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

by Greg Heisler

B&H Academic, revised 2019

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

by Edward C. Visser

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

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

by Zach Mills

Fortress Press, 2018


The Magnificent Defeat

by Frederick Buechner

HarperOne, reprint edition, 1985

The Practice of Preaching: Revised Edition

by Paul Scott Wilson

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

The Preaching Life

Barbara Brown Taylor

Cowley Publications, 1993

The Psalms as Christian Worship: An Historical Commentary

by Bruce K. Waltke and James M. Houston

Eerdmans, 2010

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

By Frank Thomas

Pilgrim Press, updated edition, 2013

Were You There?

by Luke Powery

Westminster John Knox Press, 2019

Whose Gospel?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Protestantism

by James Forbes

The New Press, 2010


A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss

Jerry L. Sittser

Zondervan, revised and expanded edition, 2021

A Grief Observed

C. S. Lewis

many editions available

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

Kate Bowler

Random House, reprint edition 2019

Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

David Kessler

Scribner, 2020

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change

Ronald A. Heifetz & Marty Linsky

Harvard Business Review Press, 2017

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler


Reprint edition, 2014

Pastor as Person: Maintaining Personal Integrity in the Choices and Challenges of Minstry

Gary L. Harbaugh

Fortress Press, 1985

Re-Calling Ministry

James E. Dittes, Donald Capps

Chalice Press, 1999

Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ

J. Todd Billings

Brazos Press, 2015

Strategic Leadership For a Change: Facing Our Loss, Finding Our Future

Kenneth J. McFayden

Alban Books, reprint edition, 2009

Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die

David Kessler

Hay House Inc.

reprint edition May, 2011

When Steeples Cry: Leading Congregations Through Loss and Change

Jaco J. Hamman

Pilgrim Press, 2006

Old Testament Reference Works

A Biblical History of Israel, 2nd edition

by Iain W. Provain, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman

Westminster John Knox Press, 2015

A Survey of the Old Testament, 3rd ed.

By Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton

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

by Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman III

Zondervan, 2006

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

Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context

by John H. Walton

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

by William Dumbrell

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

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

Intervarsity Press, 1998

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

Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture

Brevard Childs

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

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

Brill Academic Pub., 2003

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

The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English

Florentino Garcia Martinez

Eerdmans, 1996, 2nd edition

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

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4 volumes

Geoffrey Bromiley, ed.

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

Othmar Keel

Eisenbrauns, 1977

Great for cultural background

New Testament Reference Works

A Theology of the New Testament

George Eldon Ladd

Eerdmans, 1993

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

Dean Deppe

Eerdmans, 2011

available as a print on demand

An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed.

D. A. Carson, and  Douglas J. Moo

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

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

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

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

Intervarsity Press, 2000

Interpreting the New Testament

David Alan Black & David S. Dockery, eds.

B & H Academic, 2001

Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology

Paul Achtemeier, Joel Green, and Marianne Meye Thompson

Eerdmans, 2001

Jesus and the Victory of God

N.T. Wright

SPCK Publishing, reissue edition, 2015

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

Colin Brown

Zondervan, 1986

Paul the Ancient Letter Writer: An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis

Jeffrey A. D. Weima

Baker Academic, 2016

Studying the Synoptic Gospels: Origin and Interpretation

Robert H. Stein

Baker Publishing Group, 2001

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

Richard B. Hays

HarperOne, 1996


Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary

Clinton E. Arnold, editor

Zondervan, 2002

27 volumes

Commentary Surveys

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

John Glynn

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.

D. A. Carson

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.

Tremper Longman III

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

Theodore Heibert, et. al. eds.

Abingdon Press

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

Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible

By James D. G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson, eds.

Eerdmans, 2003

Good layperson’s resource


New Interpreter's Bible

by Leander Keck, ed.

Abingdon Press, 2015

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

The Expositor's Bible Commentary

Frank E. Gaebelein, editor

Zondervan, 1991

Good for general use

Intertestamental Reference Works

An Introduction to Early Judaism

James C. Vanderkam

Eerdmans, 2nd edition, 2022

The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism

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

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

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

The Words of Gardner Taylor - 5 Volumes

by Gardner Taylor, compiled by Eric Taylor

Judson Press, 2000