B&H Academic’s 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching book review – rating 8.9

12 Essential Skills for Great PreachingI was very curious to get my hands on a copy of the “12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching – Second Edition” book by B&H Academic to do a review on it.  This book is a good read if you are someone who is interested in the mechanics of writing an expository sermon that you are going to be speaking to a group of people.  It is full of great ideas, supporting charts, examples and exercises.  The author (Wayne McDill) clearly states that this is not the only way to do it, but one possibility for you to use either all or pieces of it to help you develop your sermons.  If you are wanting to dive into the a little more advanced view of the mechanics of creating expository sermons, this is an excellent resource.

I received a copy of this book from B&H Academic for me to do a review on it. In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by B&H Academic to write a positive review.


I would give this book a 8.9 out of my normal 10 point rating scale.  On a “5 star” scale that some websites use, I would give it close to a 5 star rating.

The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


**See all sections below for full detailed review**
The author did a very nice job of creating a “guide” to help people through the sometimes challenging task of writing an effective sermon while still remaining faithful to the text of the Scriptures.  He takes you through the process step by step, starting out with inductively coming at the Scriptures and then onto development and design of the actual sermon.  I sincerely appreciate the Inductive approach that the author takes in the book as it closely reflects many of the steps that we did in the Inductive Bible Study Classes we did at our church.  This book is a highly recommended resource for anyone that wants to dive into expository preaching, but is a little unsure or comfortable with the “how” part of the process.  This book is a little more on the advanced side, so if you are merely curious about expository preaching, you might not get into this book as much as someone interested in the mechanics of how to create an expository sermon.  With that said, the author has some great examples, excellent supporting charts, and explains each step very well.  This will be a book that you reference and tweak the steps to make them your own for whatever works with your style.


Type of Book: Preaching
Publisher: B&H Academic / Lifeway
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-0-8054-3297-8
Price: At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this Bible Survey Reference book from is Christianbook.com. They have it for $18.99 – suggested retail from the publisher is $27.99.  The publisher does sell it directly from their parent company website (LifeWay). See below for a breakout and links to the different prices from some major re-sellers. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.

Christianbook ($18.99)
Amazon ($22.71)
Lifeway – Parent company ($27.99)
Family Christian Bookstore ($27.99) – not in stock, but they can special order it if you wish.

Physical Characteristics:

Binding: Hardcover / Square back
Color: no color other than cover
Dimensions: 6.2″ x 9.3″ x 0.8″
Number of Pages: 320
Author: Wayne McDill

Typeface and Print:

The ease of reading this book was very good. Good printing and a fairly opaque paper make this easy to read the text on every page with just a little show-through, but not enough to be distracting at all.

Ease of Use:

This book really is more about the approach and mechanics of preparing for and writing a sermon.  With that said, the logical flow the author uses going step by step really does flow quite naturally.  This book would be classified as a seminary level book, but if you’re serious about expository sermon preparation, then you will find this to be a very valuable resource, whether you are in seminary or not.  At the end of each chapter, he gives about 5 summary steps as exercises on using what you just read in the chapter.  Then, he provides some study questions as well to make sure you understand the content of the chapter and then provides examples of the exercises based on the Scriptures covered in the particular chapter.  Very well designed and easy to use.

Durability of Book:

This book is made as you would expect a good quality textbook to be produced and is printed on pretty good paper so it feels nice in your hands. Based on what I would anticipate most people’s use of this book, I would classify it as sufficiently durable for expected / normal to extended use. The hardcover is a very typical feel of nicer text books.


Preface to the Second Edition
Section 1: Text Analysis
Skill 1 – Diagramming the Text Structure
Skill 2 – Noting the Text Details
Skill 3 – Asking Research Questions
Section 2 – Theological Interpretation
Skill 4 – Naming the Text Idea
Skill 5 – Bridging from Text to Sermon
Skill 6 – Writing Sermon Divisions
Section 3 – Sermon Development
Skill 7 – Balancing Persuasive Elements
Skill 8 – Exploring Natural Analogies
Skill 9 – Drawing Pictures, Telling Stories
Section 4 – Sermon Design
Skill 10 – Touching Human Experience
Skill 11 – Aiming for a Faith Response
Skill 12 – Planing the Oral Presentation
Conclusion – Planning for Better Preaching
Appendix A – Sermon Sample: Genesis 32: 24-32
Appendix B – Sermon Sample: Romans 8:1-4
Appendix C – Sermon Sample: Revelation 4:1-11
Appendix D – Sample Key Words

Company Summary:

From the publisher’s website: B&H Academic, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, is dedicated to providing resources for undergraduate and graduate theological education.

Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.
– Michael

This entry was posted in Apologetics, B&H Academic, Bible Study, Bible Study Resources, charting, Church Ministry, Context, Culture, Exegesis, Expository, Inductive Bible Studies, Key Words, Ministry, Ministry Help, Other Book Reviews >>, Outline, Pastor, Pastoral Book Reviews, Prayer, Preaching, Scriptures, Studying, Teaching, Wayne McDill, Word of God, Word Studies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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