A Vision for Preaching by Abraham Kuruvilla

Book cover

What exactly constitutes preaching, and what is it intended to accomplish? In these days when preachers have to compete with the latest in technology and the ultimate in media, when they have to battle the trends of culture and the apathy of a new generation, a fresh look at preaching, the heart of the pastor’s calling, is essential. And that is what I intend to do—propose a vision for preaching: what preachers (and churches) can aim for as a goal to move towards. In other words, his vision for preaching is a recommended trajectory, a momentum to develop, a road to travel. By mining church history, teasing out connections, sifting through biblical theology, tackling some existing misunderstandings, and exploring some significantly new terrain, I attempt to portray a full-orbed vision for preaching.

I offer A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry (Baker, 2015) as a big-picture depiction of the preaching task, to show how it fits in with the rest of pastoral ministry, how it is consistent with biblical and systematic theology, how it incorporates aspects of communication theory, rhetoric, and language philosophy, and how it plays a key role in the spiritual formation of God’s people, through Scripture and by the agency of the Holy Spirit, all for the furtherance of Christ’s kingdom, and the exaltation of God’s name.

The book was named Editor’s Choice for 2016 Book of the Year (of books published in 2015) by Preaching Today; it has been translated into Korean.

Sample Chapter

Get a taste of the book with a sample chapter. Download Chapter 1

Purchase Options

Paperback (266 pages): Baker Books | Amazon.com


Kuruvilla offers a systematic and readable vision for the preparation of sermons and especially the preparation of preachers as they wrestle with the biblical text. Rightly arguing that the key to authoritative preaching is grasping the originally intended theological meanings of biblical texts, the author challenges us to take the Scriptures seriously and to read the Bible forward rather than backward.”

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

Kuruvilla is one of the best homiletical thinkers today. In this book he argues that preachers must discern a biblical author’s theological intent in order to make valid and specific applications that will help conform listeners to Christ and bring glory to God. Kuruvilla has given us a vision for preaching that is insightful, comprehensive, and compelling.”

Donald R. Sunukjian
Professor and Chair of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Homiletics
Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California

Homiletics scholar Abraham Kuruvilla offers a compelling vision of what preaching is and can be, unpacking that vision through a series of chapters that explore what it means to be a biblical preacher. As he analyzes preaching through various lenses, he offers those who proclaim God’s Word a useful and encouraging vision through which to interpret their own calling and task.”

Michael Duduit
Dean, College of Christian Studies, and Professor of Christian Ministry
Anderson University, Anderson, South Carolina

Kuruvilla sees the big picture. His vision is broad enough to embrace a spectrum of preaching objectives while remaining focused on the inspired words of Scripture. No book presents a better balance of heart and head, Spirit and truth, and orthodoxy and orthopraxy than A Vision for Preaching.”

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

It is common for pastors to articulate vision statements for their churches, but it might also be helpful for pastors to describe a vision for their preaching. Kuruvilla, a leading homiletician, has thought through how he sees the task. A Vision for Preaching is well researched, thoughtful, and sometimes controversial, but fully worth consideration.”

Kenton C. Anderson
President, and Professor of Homiletics
Northwest Baptist Seminary, Langley, British Columbia

Kuruvilla provides a compelling vision that challenges preachers to lift their sights higher in the preaching task—a challenge worth considering!”

Scott M. Gibson
Haddon W. Robinson Professor of Preaching
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts

A thoughtful and inspirational masterwork in evangelical homiletics.”

Geoffrey Stevenson
Center for Theology and Public Issues
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K.

Abe Kuruvilla has given preachers and teachers of preachers yet another weighty, worthy book. Readers who appreciate Privilege the Text! and the commentaries in which Kuruvilla practices the theological hermeneutics advocated therein will welcome this companion volume on the heart of pastoral ministry—preaching. The move from ancient text to contemporary sermon is an extraordinarily difficult intellectual task. Preachers who sense this will like A Vision for Preaching; preachers who don’t need the book even more.”

Ken Langley
Christ Community Church, Zion, Illinois
Adjunct Professor of Preaching
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

[This] is a rich work which delves into the task of preaching more deeply and more theologically than is often the case. Your definition provides you with a framework which proves very adequate and even sufficient for your task. Each chapter quickly took me below a superficial level to the consideration of the deeper spiritual, theological and professional dynamics involved. The illustrations you included were great, as were the reflections that concluded each chapter.You amply fulfil what you set out as your objective in the Introduction. It is a superb ‘manifesto’ of preaching and it certainly gives ‘a heightened sense of the divinely granted privilege of preaching.’ I profited greatly. Thank you.”

Derek Tidball
Formerly Principal
London Bible College (now London School of Theology)
London, United Kingdom

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