The End of Many Books

The Joy of Preaching

by Phillips Brooks

It’s probably been too long since I’ve read a book-length treatment of preaching. There are probably too many blog posts about it these days, and while they are fine, they are not always as well vetted. It compares to the productivity bloggers who write up their exhaustive thoughts after one whole week trying a new system/app.

Brooks’ book comes from lectures he gave at Yale University (in 1877) after almost twenty years of preaching. While I don’t think he and I would be doctrinal twins, I certainly appreciated his homiletical observations.

For what it’s worth, Brooks wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and was a contemporary of the well-known evangelist, D. L. Moody (from whom my father-in-law and brother-in-law were named).

Here are just two of my (many) underlined quotes, both tagged in my system as #emergency for when I need some vocational encouragement:

“And so the first business of the preacher is to conquer the tyranny of his moods, and to be always ready for his work.” (p. 63)


“A man’s first wonder when he begins to preach is that people do not come to hear him. After a while, if he is good for anything, he begins to wonder that they do” (p. 60)

4 of 5 stars