Recommended Preaching Books by Southeastern Faculty

Yesterday, we inaugurated the Ed Young Sr. Chair of Preaching at Southeastern Seminary. Our president, Dr. Danny Akin, was installed into the Young Chair. Pastor Young, the chair’s namesake and senior pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Houston, was our guest preacher during the chapel service. Following the chapel service, Southeastern’s boards of trustees and visitors enjoyed a catered lunch and listened to President Akin interview Pastor Young about preaching, pastoral ministry, and the history of SEBTS (Pastor Young is an alum).

Southeastern Seminary is committed to the primacy of preaching. In fact, like all of our sister Southern Baptist seminaries, SEBTS emphasizes expositional preaching as the best manner of consistently feeding the flock from God’s Word. We have been blessed with some stellar preaching professors in recent years, many of whom have written helpful books on the art of preaching. What follows is my personal list of “greatest hits” by current and recent SEBTS preaching professors.

Daniel L. Akin, Stephen Rummage, and Bill Curtis, Engaging Exposition (B&H Academic, 2011).  This is an excellent expository preaching textbook by three men who teach preaching at SEBTS full-time (Akin) or adjunctively (Rummage, Curtis). Rummage, now senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, FL, was one of my preaching professors in seminary. Curtis, who earned his Ph.D. in preaching at SEBTS, is senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Florence, SC.

Tony Merida, Faithful Preaching: Declaring Scripture with Responsibility, Passion, and Authenticity (B&H Academic, 2009). This is another excellent expository preaching textbook. Merida, who occupies the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching at SEBTS, is also the lead pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC.

Daniel L. Akin, David L. Allen, and Ned L. Mathews, eds., Text-Driven Preaching: God’s Word at the Heart of Every Sermon (B&H Academic, 2010). This collection of essays includes contributions from some of the better-known expositors in the Southern Baptist Convention. Current and former SEBTS contributors include Akin, Ned Mathews, David Alan Black, Bill Bennett, and Jim Shaddix.

Greg Heisler, Spirit-Led Preaching: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Sermon Preparation and Delivery (B&H Books, 2007). Heisler was my other preaching professor in seminary. He continues to teach adjunctively at SEBTS, but he is now the senior pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, NC. This is not a true preaching textbook, but is an award-winning study on an important topic.

Wayne McDill, The 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching, 2nd ed. (B&H Academic, 2006). This was one of the core preaching textbooks that was used in my seminary classes. McDill, who is now retired from full-time faculty at SEBTS, is the dean of expository preaching professors in Southern Baptist life. He continues to teach for us part-time in our doctoral programs.

Wayne McDill, The Moment of Truth: A Guide to Effective Sermon Delivery (B&H Academic, 1999). This is a short, helpful book on an important practical topic. Too many pastors are Superman in the study, but Clark Kent in the pulpit. This book is written to help remedy this all-too-common situation.

Stephen Rummage, Planning Your Preaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Developing a One-Year Preaching Calendar (Kregel Academic, 2002). This is one of the most practically useful books I have ever read on preaching, written by one of my favorite preachers in the Southern Baptist Convention. This book needs to be on every pastor’s shelf.

Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix, Power in the Pulpit: How to Prepare and Deliver Expository Sermons, new ed. (Moody, 1999). Okay, I admit it—Jerry Vines does not teach preaching at Southeastern Seminary. And that is truly a shame. But current SEBTS preaching professor Jim Shaddix helped Vines revise this new edition to the latter’s classic work from the 1980s. Highly recommended.

Jim Shaddix, The Passion-Driven Sermon: Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen (B&H Academic, 2003). This is not so much a traditional preaching textbook as it is a helpful supplemental book for pastors. Written by a master preacher and disciple-maker. Shaddix teaches preaching at SEBTS and serves as pastor of teaching and training at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL.

I doubt there is a better place to come and study expository preaching than Southeastern Seminary. For those of you who are seasoned pastors who might be considering doctoral work in expository preaching, I would highly encourage you to check out our D.Min. and Ph.D. programs in preaching, both of which are offered in a modified residency format. You can study with most of the men who authored the books listed above, as well as other excellent scholar-preachers on the SEBTS faculty and beyond.


Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus’t say we didn’t tell you. We’re telling you now. The Christ-Centered Exposition series (B&H) has officially launched with the publication of Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. The series editors—Danny Akin, David Platt, and Tony Merida—serve as authorial triumvirate for the first book. Future volumes will be written by Russell D. Moore, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Mark Dever, J. D. Greear, Eric Mason, Robert Smith, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Thabiti Anyabwile, Al Mohler, and Paige Patterson.

The Christ-Centered Exposition series is framed by certain convictions. From the back cover:

This series affirms that the Bible is a Christ-centered book, containing a unified story of redemptive history of which Jesus is the hero. We purpose to exalt Jesus from every book of the Bible. In doing this, we are not commending wild allegory or fanciful typology. We must be constrained to the meaning intended by the divine Author Himself, the Holy Spirit of God. However, we also believe that the Bible has a Messianic focus, and the authors in this series will exalt Christ from all of their texts.

The series editors express the determination to ensure exegetical accuracy in each of the works. They view pastors—especially those busy with the responsibilities of ministry—as the target audience for the series and for that reason include helpful illustrations and theologically driven applications.

These convictions and characteristics drive the first volume in the series, Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Each major section of commentary includes a main idea, outline, brief discussion of the text according to this outline, and reflection and discussion questions. Where necessary, the authors include an “excursus,” or parenthetical discussion of a key issue from that passage. An example from 1 Timothy 1:3–20 illustrates this clear presentation.

The authors provide this main idea for the text: “Church leaders must lead God’s people to persevere in the gospel in the face of false teaching and other challenges” (p. 12). They then discuss this main idea through three major sections: We Must Guard the Gospel (1:3–11); We Must Celebrate the Gospel (1:12–17); We Must Fight for the Gospel (1:18–20). Akin, Platt, and Merida also provide an excurses on “The Three Moral Uses of the Law” (pp. 15–16) in which they conclude, “as we rest in the righteousness of Christ, possessed by the Spirit of Christ, compelled by the ongoing grace of Christ, we are led from the inside out to walk in God’s will. For the Christian, God’s law is no longer a crushing hammer but a divine guide.” Finally, the chapter ends with ten discussion questions (p. 21) such as, “How would you state the gospel in one sentence?” and “How do the three uses of God’s moral law apply to unbelievers? To believers?”

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Q&A 16 (Part 2): Who are your five or six favorite preachers?

Question: Who are your five or six favorite living preachers? Why? What can we learn from them?


It is difficult for me to list only 5 or 6 preachers that are my favorites who are still living. I listen to lots of preaching and I always have. I guess I would begin by saying that no one has impacted me, who is still living, more than John MacArthur. He is such a faithful expositor who simply walks us through the Bible and explains the text in a clear and careful manner. To this day, if I can listen to him on a particular book of the Bible that I might be teaching through, I make sure that I do. I have also been blessed over the years by the preaching ministry of Chuck Swindoll. What an incredible communicator and illustrator. We can learn much from him about how to tell a story. Of course when it comes to outstanding storytelling, no one does it better than Paige Patterson. I have also been blessed through the years by Jerry Vines. He has the ability to weave homiletical masterpieces that stay with you. I can remember the first time I ever heard him preach the sermon “Our Ascended Lord.” I must have listened to that particular message more than 100 times. And, I never grew weary of it! I also would commend gladly the preaching ministry of John Piper. What passion and theological precision! He always challenges me to think in terms of the greatness of our God, the sinfulness of man, and the glory of Christ. Again, any time I can listen to him I do.

Today, I am also blessed by the preaching ministry of a younger generation. I have been helped and edified by the preaching ministry of Mark Driscoll who is such an excellent communicator and faithful expositor within a healthy theological context. The same could be said for Matt Chandler. I also appreciate very much the preaching of David Platt, who reminds me of a younger John Piper! And, I would be remiss if I did not mention men like Alister Begg, Mark Dever, and Stephen Davey who are faithful and consistent expositors who serve up a delicious meal week after week for their people.

I also love the passion of Johnny Hunt and the homiletical craftsmanship of James Merritt. Robert Smith is also the total package when it comes to faithful biblical exposition. Two other African-American brothers who always bless me are Tony Evans and Eric Mason.

When I teach preaching I tell my students not to emulate any one man, but learn from them all. Ask yourself the question, “Why do I want to keep listening to this person preach again and again and again?” The men that I have mentioned in these 2 blogs are very different and yet at the same time they are very similar. All of them, given their own unique personality, gifts and abilities, faithfully teach the Word of God. That for me is the key. Anyone can deliver a single wowsier of a sermon! However, it is the man who can stand week after week after week and feed his people for years that is the model I want to emulate and pray our students will follow as well.