A Manual for Preaching: The Journey from Text to Sermon by Abraham Kuruvilla

Book cover

A Manual for Preaching: The Journey from Text to Sermon is an attempt at curating a step-by-step movement in the crafting of a sermon. While my earlier A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry (Baker, 2015) provided a big-picture view of the sermonic event and its context and ramifications, this companion volume details the nitty-gritty: how to make The Journey from Text to Sermon.

Primarily, this is a practical guide for the beginning student of preaching. My aim is to give future pastors—those who are training to go out into the front end of the battle arena, to pastor and to preach weekly—a clear pathway to creating a sermon from a passage of Scripture.

Secondarily, those who are already in the trenches will find this work stimulating them to move forwards, especially for those veterans who may not be cognizant with much of the recent developments in homiletics.



Here are the chapter titles of the book:

  1. Getting Ready [preliminaries]
  2. Discerning Theology [catching the thrust of the text]
  3. Deriving Application [how to come up with specific application]
  4. Creating Maps [the skeleton: how to arrange the various parts of a sermon]
  5. Fleshing Moves [giving flesh to the skeleton: revelation and relevance]
  6. Illustrating Ideas [the use of sermon supporting material]
  7. Crafting Introductions and Conclusions [how to begin a sermon and how to end one]
  8. Producing Manuscripts [the importance of writing out sermons]
  9. Delivering Sermons [how to send out the final product to an audience]

The book is amply illustrated with examples, particularly by employing the text of Ephesians and the Jacob Story (Genesis 25–35). And so, there are also a couple of my own annotated sermon manuscripts (one on a text from Ephesians and another on one of the Jacob Story pericopes in Genesis).

The considerations and techniques offered here will spur preachers to develop newer skills and attempt greater heights in their preaching techniques and practices, as they persist faithfully in proclaiming the word of God to the people of God.

Sample Chapter

Get a taste of the book with this sample: Introduction and Chapter 1: “Getting Ready.” Download free chapter

Purchase Options

Paperback (336 pages) / Kindle: Baker | Amazon


Abraham Kuruvilla is a physician-theologian whose work in the field of homiletics is both innovative and firmly Bible-based. This manual on preaching is at once practical and theologically rich. It shows not only how-to but also wherefore. Highly recommended!”

Timothy George
Dean Emeritus
Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

No matter where we are in our preaching journey, we can learn from this man who does it well. Listen to hear Abe preach and I promise that you will be blessed with fresh insights and clear applications. You will also take note of his ability to pay careful attention to the text, all the while showing its relevance to today’s audience. In this book he uses illustrations to help us understand how he gets from text to sermon; from two thousand years ago to today.”

Erwin W. Lutzer
Pastor Emeritus
The Moody Church, Chicago, Illinois

Homileticians and expositors are getting accustomed to expecting solid work from Dr. Abe Kuruvilla, so this new manuscript will not disappoint them in the least in that regard. Therefore, I am happy to recommend this new title once again—A Manual for Preaching: The Journey from the Text to the Sermon. Ever since I have read Dr. Kuruvilla’s book Privilege the Text!, I have become one of his fans. This volume fits right in line with that previous work. I think pastors, students, and lay persons will enjoy this new work just as well. I give it my highest commendation.”

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
President Emeritus
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Wise, humble, realistic, vividly illustrated, erudite, comprehensive, constructively contrarian, playful, memorable, but above all helpful for the serious preacher. Dr. Kuruvilla’s magnum opus builds upon decades of preaching and equipping preachers and writing for them. Some homiletics texts are purely theoretical or the exemplary sermons are so detached from the theory that they could have been written by someone else. Not this volume. Kuruvilla demonstrates how to discern the theology of the pericope and how that theology governs the sermon. Time and again, words in this book reminded me of the detailed underlying scholarship in earlier works in the Kuruvilla corpus. Then, just when I needed it, some saying like “simplicity always wins” glued itself to my brain, or some image like the preacher as curator of a work of art—the text—put the call to preach into perspective. This book is not for the lazy for it takes seriously the price preachers must pay to prepare, but it will richly reward those learn from its precepts and examples.”

Greg R. Scharf
Professor Emeritus of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

This introduction to the science and the art of preaching represents Kuruvilla at his best. Writing with passion, clarity, plenty of illustrations and examples, and from a wealth of experience, he offers a practical and engaging guide to the highest calling on earth—the proclamation of the word of God. Few will agree with him or me every point; but then, effective preachers tend to be idiosyncratic creatures. Our differences aside, whether readers are old hands at the enterprise or novices entering this sacred vocation, anyone who preaches, and any church leader who listens to preaching needs to read this book. It will encourage the former to improve their homiletical skills, but more importantly, it will inspire them to proclaim the message of God’s grace with greater authority and fire. And it should inspire the latter to pray for those who preach. A magnificent and delightful piece! If I were teaching homiletics, this would be the textbook.”

Daniel I. Block
Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament
Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

In the multitude of books on preaching, Abraham Kuruvilla’s will prove to be of more value than most, whether for novice or experienced preachers. The book does exactly what it claims, helping a preacher to move, step by step, from text to sermon. It rightly emphasis the importance of preaching units of scripture to the church in continuity, rather than picking away at unrelated texts, and of doing so through a theological lens. The book is full of seasoned wisdom, making use of Kuruvilla’s own experience, both his successes and occasionally his failures. It is helpfully applied by using the story of Jacob and letter to the Ephesians throughout. I recommend it not only for personal enrichment but as a textbook for any classes in homiletics.”

Derek Tidball
Former Principal
London Bible College (now London School of Theology), London, U.K.

Abe Kuruvilla is one of my favorite preachers and homileticians because he consistently and beautifully blends meaty exegesis and engaging exposition better than anyone I know. Whether in the classroom or the pulpit, biblical authors live and breathe whenever he opens the Word. His Manual for Preaching is an opportunity for a generation of preachers to learn how to preach from a master as they make the journey with him from the sacred text to a contemporary setting.”

Hershael W. York
Dean, Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

Abraham Kuruvilla, one of our most prolific homileticians, has finally written an introductory textbook, and the guild is better for it. His approach is fresh as he shows students how to discover, apply, organize, illustrate, and deliver the theological thrust of the text. Grounded in homiletical and hermeneutical theory, A Manual for Preaching is also written with a conversational tone. I like how Abe dialogues with the reader. Furthermore, he has managed to make his case forcefully but also humbly.”

Jeffrey Arthurs
Haddon W. Robinson Professor of Preaching and Communication
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts

If Kuruvilla writes it, I read it! Few think or write more deeply or insightfully about preaching and its implications than Abraham Kuruvilla. This latest book from his pen is no exception. Written with wit and verve, A Manual for Preaching is the author’s seasoned reflections on the art and craft of writing and preaching biblical sermons. If you only read one book on preaching published in 2019, make it this one!”

David L. Allen
Dean, George W. Truett Distinguished Professor of Preaching
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Abe Kuruvilla knows that the journey from text to sermon is not a straight line. Each week the preacher faces a brand-new challenge: How exactly do we get from this particular text to a sermon that is biblically faithful, theologically accurate, and life-changing in its impact? This book offers a reliable guide that will encourage preachers by showing them it can be done. A Manual for Preaching is exactly what its name implies. Here you will find practical help that will enable you enter the pulpit with confidence week after week. Read it! Study it! Share it with a friend!”

Ray Pritchard
Keep Believing Ministries, Elmhurst, Illinois

Abraham Kuruvilla is the E. F. Hutton of the homiletical world. When he writes, professors and preachers read! I have been helped greatly and wonderfully blessed through his other volumes on preaching, Privilege the Text! and A Vision for Preaching. This newest volume is exactly what its title suggests, A Manual for Preaching. In this wonderfully readable volume Dr. Kuruvilla takes us on the homiletical journey from getting ready to preach to the final step of delivering a sermon. Professors will find this volume filled with transferrable concepts to share with their students. Preachers will find it to be invaluable as we all learn to preach God’s Word more effectively. Dr. Kuruvilla has written. We should now read and apply!”

Jerry Vines
Pastor Emeritus
First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida

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