Spotlighting great books for pastors during Clergy Appreciation Month is nothing new for us — but somehow, it never gets old.

And with insight-packed new books on practical theology, congregational leadership, worship, biblical studies, and more coming out each year, it’s easy for us to keep our annual tradition from going out of style.

Here, then, are a few selections from our 2014 featured collection of books for pastors. Click to view the complete collection on our website, or read on to discover five great books . . .

Shaping the Prayers of the People

Shaping the Prayers of the People

Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession
Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher

This book offers a model of profound and accessible congregational prayer. At once inspirational and practical, it will empower and equip laypeople and clergy alike to offer heartfelt, informed, and appropriate prayers on behalf of the people of God. As Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher say, “Interceding in public worship is a duty. This book is intended to make it a joy.”

Shaping the Prayers of the People begins by considering what public prayer is and offering practical guidelines for avoiding common pitfalls. It explores prayer as an integral part of worship and discusses the language we need (and don’t need) to address God. Significantly, the book also provides an array of example prayers along with commentary.

“In our American culture where prayer is relentlessly individualized, Wells and Kocher gather us into a community understood comprehensively — public worship that takes seriously and devoutly both congregation and world. They pull us out of our private isolation into something large where God is working largely — and all of this written in prose that is both accurate and alive.”
— Eugene H. Peterson

Click to read an EerdWord excerpt from this book. 

Toughest People to Love

Toughest People to Love

Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life — Including Yourself
Chuck DeGroat

People — frustrating, confusing, disappointing, complicated — are the most difficult part of leadership; they challenge leaders everywhere, from leaders of many to managers of a few. In this book Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with just about anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.

Toughest People to Love explores the basics of how people “tick,” encouraging leaders to examine and take care of themselves so that they can better understand and care for others. Based on DeGroat’s wealth of experience as a pastor, professor, and therapist, this book — both wise and practical — is one that countless leaders will go back to time and again for valuable insights and renewed vision.

Click to read a guest post by Chuck DeGroat or an EerdWord review by Rachel Bomberger, to watch the book trailer, or to enjoy our video interview with the author.

Worship with Gladness

Worship with Gladness

Worship with Gladness: Understanding Worship from the Heart
Joyce Ann Zimmerman

In this invitingly written, deeply joyful book, Joyce Ann Zimmerman makes Scripture her foundation as she explores the meaning and purpose of authentic Christian worship today.

Zimmerman discusses such subjects as the common elements of worship that transcend denominational boundaries, what Scripture tells us about participating in worship, and how authentic worship expresses itself in daily living.

Each section concludes with thoughtful prompts that will encourage readers to reflect on and apply what Zimmerman discusses.

“For those looking for an accessible and ecumenically sensitive discussion of worship, this is the book they have been looking for. Zimmerman provides a wonderfully clear picture of what all Christians share in worship and how they can think together about their worship. The book’s special value is its lay focus and its ability to make complex issues understandable, even engaging. . . . Perfect for a church study group.”
— William Dyrness, Fuller Theological Seminary

Distance in Preaching

Distance in Preaching

Distance in Preaching: Room to Speak, Space to Listen
Michael A Brothers

Based on several years of teaching and careful observation in preaching classes, this book by Michael Brothers explores the benefits of “distance” in preaching — and listening to — sermons.

Having noticed that sermon listeners generally want to be given room for their own interpretations and experiences, Brothers argues that critical and aesthetic distance as a hermeneutical tool is vital to hearing the gospel today and should be intentionally employed in sermon construction and delivery. He explains this “distance” in the field of homiletics, equips teachers and students of preaching to evaluate the function of distance in sermons, and encourages preachers to practice the use of distance in their preaching.

Read an excerpt from the book here on EerdWord.

The Spiritual Practice of Remembering

The Spiritual Practice of Remembering

The Spiritual Practice of Remembering
Margaret Bendroth

We often dismiss history as dull or irrelevant, but our modern disengagement from the past puts us fundamentally out of step with the long witness of the Christian tradition. Yet, says Margaret Bendroth, the past tense is essential to our language of faith, and without it our conversation is limited and thin.

This accessible, beautifully written book presents a new argument for honoring the past. The Christian tradition gives us the powerful image of a vast communion of saints, all of God’s people, both living and dead, in vital conversation with each other. This kind of connection with our ancestors in the faith, Bendroth maintains, will not happen by wishing or by accident. She argues that remembering must become a regular spiritual practice, part of the rhythm of our daily lives as we recognize our world to be, in many ways, a gift from others who have gone before.

Read an EerdWord excerpt from the book

Click to view the rest of our featured books for pastors or to browse the Church and Ministry category on our website. 

Click to request a copy or view online.

Click to request a copy or view online.

It’s fall in Grand Rapids. The leaves have turned brilliant shades of red and orange, the apples are ripe and juicy, the pumpkin patches are full . . . and the Eerdmans Fall 2014 academic catalog is now available!

If you normally receive our print catalogs in the mail, watch for this latest to arrive in your mailbox soon.

If you don’t already receive catalogs from us, why not request one today? We’ll have your free catalog on its way to you ASAP!

Those who prefer a more high-tech approach to catalog browsing are also welcome, of course, to view or download a PDF of this or any of our other recent catalogs through Scribd.

Inside you’ll find dozens of new and recent books ideal for use by scholars and students, including the following highlights:

Sensing the Scriptures
Karlfried Froehlich
A senior scholar’s novel survey of the “senses” of biblical interpretation through the centuries

Revelation: A Shorter Commentary
G. K. Beale with David H. Campbell
Long-awaited abridgment of the premier scholarly commentary on the Greek text of Revelation

The Book of Psalms
(The New International Commentary on the Old Testament)
Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford, Rolf A. Jacobson, and Beth LaNeel Tanner
The most complete and detailed one-volume commentary available on the Psalms

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Greek and English
Craig A. Evans and H. Daniel Zacharias
All of the Greek Old Testament pseudepigrapha presented along with English translations

(Guides to Theology)
David Fergusson
Informed guide to the theology of creation in the Bible, through church history, and for today

Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology
Daniel L. Migliore
Third edition of a superb, standard theology textbook — now updated and improved

Jesus without Borders: Christology in the Majority World
Gene L. Green, Stephen T. Pardue, and K. K. Yeo
Inaugural volume of the exciting new Majority World Theology series

Revelation as Testimony: A Philosophical-Theological Study
Mats Wahlberg
An extraordinary argument for the traditional testimonial view of divine revelation

Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation
(Prophetic Christianity Series)
Jennifer Harvey
Prophetic call for a new reparations paradigm in order to really achieve racial justice

Click to view our Fall 2014 Academic Catalog on Scribd or to request a free print copy


The rules of our Five Questions interview series are simple: we send authors a long list of questions. Some are serious; some are . . . not so serious. They choose their five favorites and respond.

David C. Downing

David C. Downing

Our guest today is David C. Downing, who is R. W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and editor of the new Wade Annotated Edition of C. S. Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress

* * *

What’s the story behind The Pilgrim’s Regress?

C. S. Lewis wrote the book in only two weeks, while vacationing in the north of Ireland. He had lost his childhood faith while at boarding school, and spent most of his teens and twenties exploring atheism, occultism, Freudianism, pantheism, and other alternative philosophies. When Lewis returned to faith in his early 30s, partly through his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien and other intellectually high-powered Christians at Oxford, he seemed eager to tell the story of his spiritual journey. He decided to write an updated version of John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress, calling his own story The Pilgrim’s Regress, since he had to retrace his steps leading back to the faith of his childhood.

The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933) represented many firsts for Lewis: his first Christian book, his first work of fiction, his first book published under his own name. Yet it is one of Lewis’s least read books, mainly because of its obscurity. It includes untranslated phrases in Greek, Latin, French, and Italian, and makes allusions to philosophers such as Kant, Leibnitz, and Nietzsche that very few readers will recognize or understand.

What led you to edit the new Wade Center annotated edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress?

As I mentioned above, The Pilgrim’s Regress is one of Lewis’s most difficult books, as it contains over 300 quotations, references, and allusions that most readers today will not fully understand. I wanted to create an annotated edition with sidenotes on the same page as the text, so that readers could glance over to the margin to find help with untranslated phrases, obscure vocabulary words, and cross-references to many of Lewis’s later and more well-known books.

The Pilgrim's Regress, Wade Annotated Edition

The Pilgrim’s Regress, Wade Annotated Edition

What makes this annotated edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress such a unique contribution?

Apart from offering readers over 400 explanatory notes to aid their reading, this edition also includes 75 annotations written by C. S. Lewis himself. The Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College possesses a 1935 edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress that was originally owned by one of Lewis’s students. Apparently the young man felt he was missing a lot in the story, so Lewis obligingly added helpful and insightful notes identifying the models for several key characters, citing Bible references, and explaining difficult theological passages. This new edition also draws upon another unpublished text by Lewis, a 62-page autobiographical manuscript he wrote about 1930 to trace his spiritual journey to that point. This manuscript helps clear up several obscure or controversial passages in The Pilgrim’s Regress.

Whom do you envision reading this book?

Whenever I teach a class on Lewis or speak at an Inklings conference, I find that The Pilgrim’s Regress is the book most often mentioned as the one that Lewis fans have never read — or never finished. Too often readers don’t understand who the characters are meant to represent or else they get discouraged by all those foreign phrases and technical philosophical terms. I am hoping that this edition will reveal all the insight and humor hidden in a somewhat difficult text. I would like to see a lot of Lewis fans move this book from the Unread shelf in their Lewis collection to the Favorites shelf.

What’s one thing not many people may know about C. S. Lewis?

C. S. Lewis is famous as one of the 20th century’s most accomplished Christian prose writers, both as a creator of fiction, such as the Narnia Chronicles, and as the author of non-fiction classics such as Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain. So readers may be surprised to learn that until almost exactly the midpoint in life, Lewis was a non-believer whose main ambition was to become a famous poet. In his teens and twenties, Lewis was spiritually adrift and his main focus was upon writing poems that he hoped would help him achieve literary immortality. Lewis published two slim volumes of poetry, Spirits in Bondage (1919) and Dymer (1926), under a pen name, Clive Hamilton, neither of which attracted much interest or attention.

When Lewis became a Christian at the age of 32 (exactly half way through his life — he died at the age of 64), he set aside his literary ambitions and took up a humbler vocation of wanting to use his writing talents in the service of the Kingdom. In so doing, Lewis launched began what turned out to be one of the most remarkable writing careers of the 20th century. Lewis continued to write poetry all his life (some of which appears in The Pilgrim’s Regress), and his talents as a poet have actually been largely overlooked. But he would have been shocked in his teens or twenties to learn that he would indeed become a world-famous writer — not as a poet, but as one of the great Christian thinkers and prose stylists of his era.

Click to order the Wade Annotated Edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress, edited and with an introduction by David C. Downing. 

Framing Paul

Framing Paul

All historical work on Paul presupposes a story concerning the composition of his letters — which ones he actually wrote, how many pieces they might originally have consisted of, when he wrote them, where from, and why. But the answers given to these questions are often derived in dubious ways.

In Framing Paul Douglas Campbell (whose previous books include The Deliverance of God) reappraises all these issues in rigorous fashion, appealing only to Paul’s own epistolary data in order to derive a basic “frame” for the letters on which all subsequent interpretation can be built. Though figuring out the authorship and order of Paul’s letters has been thought to be impossible, Campbell’s Framing Paul presents a cogent solution to the puzzle.

Learn more about this must-read monograph (coming soon, but available for preorder now) in our latest book trailer below.

Praise for Douglas Campbell’s Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography

“In most generations there are those rare scholars willing to go back to fundamentals, to rethink and reorganize what other scholars have come to take for granted or have not bothered to think through. Our scholarly generation owes Douglas Campbell hearty thanks for this book which, among other things, does the hard work of clarifying the chronology and historical context of Paul’s letters. Campbell’s transparent and rigorous thought is seen here at its best. All historical-critical interpreters of Paul’s letters will need this book; any serious reader of Paul will benefit from it.”
— L. Ann Jervis, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Campbell, the author of one of the most brilliant and controversial books on Paul’s soteriology ever written, here brings his immense intellectual rigor and extraordinary capacity for fresh thinking to the subject of Pauline chronology. The result is another tour de force.”
Edward Adams, King’s College London

“Once again Doug Campbell sets the cat among the pigeons! Through careful argumentation, laced with a mass of radically new suggestions, he builds an original case for a ten-letter corpus of authentic Pauline letters in a historical sequence never before proposed. All Pauline scholars, whether convinced or not, will need to give this book the careful attention it deserves.”
— John Barclay, Durham University

“A sharp, imaginative, painstaking study. . . . Like a puzzle master, Campbell fits together clues large and small to form a compelling whole. . . . To take Campbell’s disciplined analysis seriously may mean, for some, to reframe Paul rather dramatically. But to ignore his argument is to miss an opportunity to check accumulated habits and prejudices that may, for a host of intellectual and theological reasons, `frame’ unjustly Paul’s actual, complicated, exigency-driven correspondence.”
— Alexandra Brown, Washington and Lee University

Click to order Douglas Campbell’s Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography.

Welcome once again to Eerdmans All Over, a Friday roundup of all the Eerdmans-related news, reviews, interviews, and other interesting online content we can gather in a given week.

New Releases


Mikis and the Donkey
Bibi Dumon Tak and Philip Hopman


News from Eerdmans . . .

  • Don’t miss the latest episode of our vlog dedicated to children’s publishing, Coffee Break, on our new YouTube channel, EBYR TV.

. . . and elsewhere.

  • Roger Sutton announced that the starred reviews from November/December edition of The Horn Book will include The Right Word by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet.The Gospel of the Lord
  • “10 Must Reads for Pastors” from Reformed Communion includes Under the Unpredictable Plant by Eugene Peterson and The Pastor as Minor Poet by Craig M. Barnes.
  • In the current Supreme Court case over a Muslim prisoner’s beard, RNS reports that Justice Roberts wants to avoid simplistic legal reasoning. Arguing for the defendant is First Amendment scholar Douglas Laycock (Religious Liberty), who said “The degree of deference due to the prison depends on the quality of their explanation, the quality of their consideration of the issue, and here there’s no indication they ever considered the religious needs of the prisoners in the adoption of this rule.”
  • The blog What Is ML Reading? reviewed The Right Word by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet: “Ecstatic is one word describing my feelings when The Right Word:  Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet arrived.  Thrilled, overjoyed, elated, delighted, exultant, jubilant and pleasantly surprised to read a book explaining how my favorite book metamorphosed describes my glee.”
  • Jim West of Zwinglius Redivivus posted two glowing reviews: one review of The Book of Isaiah (Bautch and Hibbard) and another review of Pandora’s Box Opened (Roy A. Harrisville).

Have we missed any news, reviews, or other online miscellany dealing with Eerdmans or EBYR books or authors from the last week? Please let us know in the comments. You also can post items on our Facebook timeline, mention us on Twitter (@eerdmansbooks or @ebyrbooks), or write to us directly: