Pastoral Use for Reading Sermons

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Puritan Board Senior
For Pastors,

How do you personally use the reading of sermons from other ministers? Does this help with sermon preparation or more with regard to a minister’s own personal devotion?

I recently purchased the BOT 22 Volume set of Manton sermons and it dawned on me to ask, “How do some reformed Pastors utilize the sermons of their forefathers and/or peers?”.

This might help others know what are some of the best things, to donate to a Pastor’s (green or seasoned) library.:detective:

P.S. I will add that I have spent most of my reading, outside of scripture, on reading systematic theology books, commentaries, and topical works. This Manton set will really be the first time I have tried to add reading sermons to my diet as compared to listening only.
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Puritan Board Senior
Do you specifically want pastors only to answer this? If so I can move it to elders only forum.

I am more interested in a Ministers perspective to be forthright; however, I welcome insight from any members, which I feel confident will also be edifying to read.:detective:

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior

The role that they play for me, apart from devotionally, is that after I've written, or sometimes, extensively outlined, my own sermon, I may read the sermon of a modern (Boice, Philips, Ryken, Ferguson, or the like) or historic figure (ancient or medievalist, Reformer, Puritan, Spurgeon, or the like) to bring vividness, insight, and polish to my own sermon.


Stephen L Smith

Staff member
I am more interested in a Ministers perspective to be forthright; however, I welcome insight from any members, which I feel confident will also be edifying to read.:detective:
Ok. I moved it to 'Meditating on the Preached Word' as it is not really a General Forum topic. Though it could also fit into one of the Christian Living forums.

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
For my own devotion, I usually just read through the Bible, though sometimes I also read one of the Puritans -- and I suppose some of that would be sermons. For my own sermon preparation, some of the commentaries I use were originally sermons (e.g. in the Reformed Expository Commentary series), but I also often check a website called The Seed to see if any Reformed colleagues have preached on the passage and what their approach was.

John Yap

Puritan Board Freshman
Preaching the Word and REC series are works that helped me devotionally as well as plant some sermon ideas in my mind...
Puritan works like Flavel's fountain can be seen as theological references themselves

Richard Miller

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't find reading sermons (especially pre-1900's) particularly helpful for sermon prep. I usually will utilize commentaries for that (from all eras). I find written sermons (i.e. The Spurge, The Puritans, etc.) very helpful for devotional purposes, however.

Typically, I need more help finding out details about the text, and I think this is why I find myself turning to commentaries more often. I have a much easier time looking at a text and finding my points and applications. It's geography, dates, cultural practices, etc. that I am often searching for. I might turn to a sermon for help only in the times that I am completely stumped. Usually, I will have some kind of idea beforehand.

But that's just me. I'm sure others are just the opposite!

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I've found reading sermons helpful for personal devotion. Occasionally you find some exegetical insights or practical applications you hadn't thought of before. But commentaries are usually more useful. Reading through older sermons for sermon prep is more time-consuming. I'll only do it if I'm wrestling with a difficult text and want to see how others have done it.


Puritan Board Freshman
I enjoy both listening and reading sermons by others. When I listen to sermons from others, it is usually for my own spiritual health. That said, when I hear a useful illustration or a helpful explanation of some truth, I will note it so that I can bring it into my own preaching. When I read sermons, I use them as another commentary. That is, after I have studied the passage myself and outlined a sermon, I read commentaries and other sermons to check my work, add ideas that I missed, and generally polish my own sermon (similar to Dr. Stange).
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