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Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  742 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Stott's modern classic, Between Two Worlds, argues that there is a chasm between the biblical world and the modern world. This chasm is bridged through the preaching and proclamation of the Word of God. It is the preacher, empowered through the Spirit, who stands in the gap between these two worlds. It is through preaching whereby the world of the Bible is brought into the ...more
Unknown Binding, 351 pages
Published May 18th 1982 by Eerdmans (first published 1982)
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Between Two Worlds by John R.W. StottBiblical Preaching by Haddon W. RobinsonPreaching and Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-JonesSaving Eutychus by J. Gary MillarThe Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
Best Books on Preaching
1st out of 63 books — 16 voters
Desiring God by John PiperMere Christianity by C.S. LewisThe Cross of Christ by John R.W. StottExegetical Fallacies by D.A. CarsonRadical by David Platt
Seminarian's Treasure Trove
16th out of 80 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aaron Downs
Nov 10, 2014 Aaron Downs rated it really liked it
Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today
John Stott’s Between Two Worlds argues for the supremacy of preaching through historical examples, theological basis, biblical understanding, and personal holiness. This book, in comparison to Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching, addresses a multiple facets within the topic of preaching. I found two subjects in the book especially convicting: the subjects of “Contemporary Objections to Preaching” and “The Call to Study.”
In the objectio
Matt Moran
Oct 12, 2010 Matt Moran rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Theological, practical, and very inspiring. Stott begins with a history of preaching in the Christian church and answers some contemporary objections to preaching. He gets into the meat of the book in ch. 3 with his theological foundations for preaching. In ch. 4 he unpacks his title image 'Between two worlds' - Stott pictures the preacher as a bridge between the Biblical world and the 21st century, proclaiming the Gospel faithfully in a contemporary context. His chapters 5-6 on study ...more
Bret James Stewart
Stott has written another great book.

Brief Summary

This book deals with preaching in what was recently the contemporary culture. The concepts are timeless, so one must ignore the occasional reference to typewriters or overhead projectors and stick to the ideas Stott is attempting to convey. Of all the functions in the church, Stott believes preaching is the most important. His book provides information and strategies for the modern preacher to use in the pulpit. The first section of the book cont
Todd Miles
Jan 15, 2013 Todd Miles rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching
Stott writes a cover-everything book on preaching. His theological background for preaching, as well as his appeals to church history were very helpful. He even spent time talking through some of the nuts and bolts of sermon preparation. He does great work on the heart necessary to preach. It could have been shorter.
Aug 13, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
This book was AMAZING!! I absolutely loved it and it challenged me to think about preaching/teaching in an entirely new way.

Some of my favorite thoughts (and there were many) are...

"I confess that in the pulpit I am often seized with 'communication frustration', for a message burns within me, but I am unable to convey to others what I am thinking, let alone feeling. And seldom if ever do I leave the pulpit without a sense of partial failure, a mood of penitence, a cry to God for forgiveness, an
J.S. Park
Sep 11, 2011 J.S. Park rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Like a balanced meal, John Stott serves a course of both pragmatism and piety for the hard work of the sermon. Written mostly for pastoral ministry, Stott contrasts the amplitudes of preaching and the preacher's character, always keeping both feet on the ground while aiming the heart at Heaven. The proclamation of the Word of God is no light matter, and Stott details the seriousness it deserves. Full of quotes, written with great humility, and practical even down to sermon length, this is the pe ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: preaching
Books that are given to you by friends, and especially mentors, are often more precious than even great books encountered on your own. Good books are better books when they are passed down, that is part of the beauty of a website like because it facilitates this practice.

Such is the case with this book, it was given to me by Mark Bergin (now preaching pastor at The Painted Door church in Chicago, IL) who trained me for my role as deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. Since we
Nathan Moore
Jan 16, 2012 Nathan Moore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: preaching
The strengths of this book are both many and varied. Stott argues that 'preaching is indispensable to Christianity' and to the health of the Christian church. As the title suggests, Stott discribes the work of the preacher as one of bridge-building. Because of the distance and the complexities of the ancient/Biblical world, carefully planned bridges must be built for God's Word to be loudly related to those in the modern world. To do this, the preacher must be a student of each of these respecti ...more
Jim B
Sep 01, 2014 Jim B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Stott captures what preaching is truly about. It's not about entertaining or even provoking thought. The preacher is "between two worlds" -- taking the truths of the kingdom of God and bringing them into the world of the congregation he serves. He must be loyal to both worlds in his sermon -- faithfully reproducing the message that God has provided and using it to supply the comfort, guidance and joy that the listener needs. This book is worth reading several times.
Steven van Doorn
Dec 19, 2011 Steven van Doorn rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very well thought out and written book. The premise is that the art of preaching has been all but lost in our time and that it will take among others discipline, courage and humility to bring it back.
John Stott clearly is amazingly well read and backed up whatever he said with quotations from prominent Christians from the last 20 centuries. From the modern day leaders to early church fathers he shows how across the spectrum of Christianity certain principles of preaching ha
CJ Bowen
Oct 20, 2011 CJ Bowen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stott's excellent and engaging book comes to climax in chapter 4: Preaching as Bridge-Building. In it, he attempts to articulate his conviction that preaching has two aspects – the exposition of the Bible, and communication, the application of Biblical truth to today's world. His metaphor is that of building a bridge from the Bible to the modern mind through preaching. He has much wise counsel here, and concludes with this sharp bit: bridge-building preaching “will be authoritative in expounding ...more
Caleb Bissett
Apr 07, 2014 Caleb Bissett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
Although the first couple chapters were a bit dry, they were still essential to the book, and the rest of the book was excellent. Stott does a solid job of capturing the essence of preaching and fully outlining the preacher's task. His understanding of the cultural impacts of technology, even back in 1982, is still astoundingly insightful for today.
Andrew Hoffman
Jan 23, 2014 Andrew Hoffman rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Every preacher should have chapter one handy for those days when enthusiasm for preaching flags. I appreciated how thoroughly Stott treats the subject of preaching even if it felt tedious in a few spots. He pushed me to consider some topics that factor into preaching that I needed to be reminded of (courage, humility, passion, the Holy Spirit). Still looking for the book on preaching that is written for the guy who's already been at it for a decade or more...
Jordan Constantine
The greatest strength in Stott's work is the way he draws our attention to the "cloud of witnesses" that surround the pulpit and the preacher. Spurgeon, Charles Simeon, Chrysostom, and countless other small and big pastors, Stott brings them all to the conversation, that they may comfort and disturb. But more than that, they all stand as witness to God's persistent use of the preaching of the Word to nourish His church. "Go on, and flinch not," preacher; preach with endurance, eyes fixed on Chri ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry
Fantastic. More diverse content in this book than other preaching books I've read. The key concept is that a preacher stands between two worlds (the Bible and the contemporary world) and must study both to present the unchanging message of the bible to the ever changing world. I loved the 'History of Preaching' chapter plus the many quotes from preachers of previous generations (many of whom I hadn't heard of). Down to earth but intellectual at the same time, with an encouraging call to rigorous ...more
Ben Flegal
May 01, 2015 Ben Flegal rated it liked it
Shelves: preaching
Stott's book was a good general overview of the office of the preacher, delving into the method, presentation, and attitude involved in proper preaching. he calls for expository preachers who will humbly exegete and present the Scriptures in a way that will make the original text alive to the hearers and accomplish God's intended purpose. The book is a bit long, and the content seems much the same as any book on expository preaching and preachers, but it is a good reminder.
Jul 16, 2014 Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Well-known preachers are accused often of setting impossibly high standards in the areas of study, general preparation, and reading. However, I found Stott's suggestions to be both thoughtful and attainable. The book is well thought through and has a number of dense (yet accessible) ideas woven throughout it.
Ben Zornes
Jan 28, 2016 Ben Zornes rated it really liked it
Quite a wonderful book. Very practical and helpful. Stott is thorough, deliberate, witty and humble enough to glean and aggregate many wonderful quotes from a wide, wide variety of pastors, preachers, and theologians throughout church history.

The sum of the message of the book is that the preacher is bridging two worlds...the Bible and our current generation. The Bible doesn't bend to the culture, but we must ensure that in communicating the Gospel truths of scripture, we apply them to our pres
Michael Chhangur
Mar 27, 2016 Michael Chhangur rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching
More why-do-we-preach and less how-to-preach (though there is some of that). Interacts biblically with many objections modern preachers and listeners have to preaching.
Ebenezer Scrooge
Feb 13, 2016 Ebenezer Scrooge rated it liked it
Shelves: seminary-reading
As far as preaching books go, this one was good. I especially like his comments and why we should attend movies and theater, lol.
Rick Dobrowolski
Mar 27, 2012 Rick Dobrowolski rated it it was amazing
"Between Two Worlds" is a book by a preacher and for a preacher. John Stott gives a masterful explanation of the necessity of preaching for every day and age. He also states his case for how bridging the gap of the Bible day with current day can best be achieved.

Stott's book strikes the balance between philosophical and practical and is a must-have book for the shelf of any modern-day preacher. If you are involved in the preaching of God's Word and have not yet read this book, quickly put it on
Even where I disagreed with Stott (and even in the parts that are now quite dated), I really enjoyed reading him. His vision of preaching is glorious.
Jul 03, 2013 Will rated it really liked it
This book is a good introduction to the methods of preaching. His metaphor of the preacher as a bridge-builder between the world of the biblical text and the world of the comgregation is instructive and correctly gives due importance to the necessities of knowing Scripture and clarity in communication for the preacher. Though I did not agree with everything Stott said concerning how the preacher ought to engage the politics of the day, he made many good points, the best bein that preachers shoul ...more
Sep 05, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Classic treatise from Stott on expositional preaching
Richard Mansel
Feb 24, 2014 Richard Mansel rated it it was amazing
As fine a work on preaching as you will ever read.
Secelia Henderson
Oct 02, 2016 Secelia Henderson marked it as to-read
Peter N.
Feb 11, 2011 Peter N. rated it it was amazing
Four stars until the final chapter on "Courage and Humility." An excellent book on the history of preaching, it's theological foundation, it's purpose and how to prepare a sermon. A bit dated in some places, but that usually doesn't matter with Stott. What he lays out as the preacher's task is always relevant. The last chapter struck me like a punch in the face. Preachers love the praise of man. Stott reminds us of the need for courage and to remember that we will be judged by God, not man.
Dec 20, 2015 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching, theology
Comprehensive and insightful. Especially helpful in forming a philosophy of preaching and a vision for its prominence within pastoral ministry.
Jared Lovell
Nov 20, 2014 Jared Lovell rated it really liked it
Very helpful! Great read!
Jul 17, 2008 Brett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
Utilizing “bridge-building” as his central metaphor, Stott commissions the preacher to connect the first century text with the twenty-first century audience in such a way that is faithful to the former and relevant to the latter. While Stott’s treatment is very broad (stretching from the philosophical to the practical), he provides an outstanding introduction to the rationale and task of Biblical preaching. A
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  • Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon
  • Preaching and Preachers
  • The Supremacy of God in Preaching
  • Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages
  • Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching
  • Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers
  • He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World
  • Preaching Christ in All of Scripture
  • Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures
  • Lectures to My Students
  • The Reformed Pastor
  • Preach: Theology Meets Practice
  • The Christian Ministry
  • Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method
  • Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God's Word Today
  • Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Churc
  • Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching
  • Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People
John R. W. Stott is known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). His many books, including Why I ...more
More about John R.W. Stott...

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“Jesus Christ, we believe, is the fulfilment of every truly human aspiration. To find him is to find ourselves.” 0 likes
“P. T. Forsyth’s book Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind. These are its opening words: ‘It is, perhaps, an overbold beginning, but I will venture to say that with its preaching Christianity stands or falls.” 0 likes
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