A sometimes overlooked source of helpful reading on the ministry are those volumes designed to tell us about the great preachers of the past. While much can be taught about the ministry, there is an element that is caught. I suggest we do our catching at the hands of the masters of the ministry. There are volumes of varying depth and detail that between their covers tell us about many of these preachers. I will review three here and tell you of some others you might look for.
1. Walking With The Giants by Warren Wiersbe
Wiersbe was a well-read preacher who was passionate about the ministry, great preachers, and reading. He is said to have 1000 volumes in the biography section of his library alone! This book is a collection of articles he wrote in the 1970s ( the precursor of blogs I suppose). Part 1 tells us of 19 of the greatest preachers ever. You will find Alexander Maclaren, Joseph Parker, Charles Spurgeon, Campbell Morgan, J.D. Jones, and George Morrison among others. Most of my favorites are there. These chapters are exceptional and may start you down the road of finding and reading the preachers who will most move you.
That’s not all. Part 2 will fascinate you as well as help you. He turns his attention to books. Several chapters cover preaching and other appropriate subjects. I don’t know about you, but I find myself often agreeing with his assessments. This is a treasure trove and a book I have returned to again and again.
2. Listening To The Giants by Warren Wiersbe
A sequel to his Walking With The Giants that continues his helpful work. Thirteen preachers are discussed, this time with an included sermon. Not quite as famous as those in the earlier volume, but well worth knowing.
Part 2 is the best part of this book and will serve as an excellent guide to building a quality library. You will find books on parables and miracles and other subjects. His chapter “A Basic Library” is alone worth the price of the book. It was my first guide when I began assembling my own library. I was not disappointed in following his suggestions.
3. The Company of the Preachers by David Larsen
Every preacher should own and peruse this volume. Its scope is wide and its depth amazing. Every preacher who left writings that have made real impact is included. He writes from the Old Testament to the present day and you can see where your favorite preacher fits in the scheme of things. How did one man read so much and learn about all of these preachers! If you find a preacher you really like, be sure to read his footnotes. I hardly know how to describe this book–it is one of my very favorite books!
If you find that you really like these types of volumes (as I do), then you can add some other helpful volumes to your library. Look for A History of Preaching by F.R. Webber in three volumes. Then there is the 2-volume set by Edwin Dargin called too A History of Preaching. Ralph Turnbull added Volume 3 to bring the set up to date. After that you can these enjoyable volumes: Princes of the Church by W. Robertson Nicoll, Princes of the Modern Pulpit by Earnest Jeffs, The Best I Remenber by Arthur Porritt, and Nine Great Preachers by Albert Currier, The Scottish Pulpit by William Taylor, Princes of the Christian Pulpit and Pastorate by Harry Howard, and Preachers I Have Heard by Alexander Gammie. These are all 5-star volumes!
You might like The Wycliffe Handbook Preaching and Preachers by Wiersbe and Perry as well as Ed Reese’s Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biography. All these volumes have helped and blessed me. Searching used book sites will be required to secure several of these volumes, but they are worth all necessary effort.
You can find all posts and books reviewed in this series here.