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Hearers and Doers: A Pastor's Guide to Growing Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  238 ratings  ·  52 reviews
The foundation of discipleship is sound, scriptural doctrine.

The value of sound doctrine is often misunderstood by the modern church. While it can be dry and dull, when it flows from the story of Scripture, it can be full of life and love. This kind of doctrine, steeped in Scripture, is critical for disciple-making. And it's often overlooked by modern pastors.

In Hearers an
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published May 15th 2019 by Lexham Press
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Jeremy Mueller
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Catechize is a word most people don’t use on a regular basis, if ever. And yet, we are being catechized by the world each and every single day. Simply put, to be catechized is to be instructed (usually in question and answer format). Social media is instructing us with how to live. News media is instructing us with what to believe. The workplace is instructing us with what and who to value. Each of these cultural forms engrains in our minds an idea of what we deserve and what “the good life” loo ...more
Matt Pitts
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Books on discipleship abound, but we need more like this one. As one would expect, Vanhoozer helps pastors discern cultural idols and calls them to make disciples through the word, but he does so in a way that is more richly theological, more philosophically aware, and more historically informed than one might expect from the latest book on discipleship (though it is exactly what one might expect from the latest book by Vanhoozer).

Vanhoozer encourages pastors to read the Scriptures as a unified
Erik Anderson
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was hard to give a rating. There is some deeply profound and challenging material, but also a lot of repetition and at times the clarity is muddled with mixed metaphors brought in from his other works. At times I wanted to put it down, but then the next paragraph would be incredibly thought provoking.
Mark Jr.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, logos
Theology by bon mot.

My favorite chapter was ch. 2, summarized in this quote:

“The wellness movement has its share of critics, though pastors and theologians are conspicuous by their absence from this particular choir. They shouldn’t be, for wellness has become part of the warp and woof of the American social imaginary. What’s the “good news” of the wellness movement? That you can make yourself well—save yourself—by following this or that program. To the extent that it has become an ideal picture
Spencer R
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I'm giving it 4 stars, but it's a really good 4 stars.

You can read my fuller review at Spoiled Milks (7/26/19).

Scripture tells Christians they are children of the light. Having put their faith in Christ, they have been transferred from the power of darkness to the kingdom of his Son. Yet when we read that, but we don't live that way, we forget out true identity. The church must hear and do God's word. We are to evangelize, make disciples, and teach them who they are in Christ, for Christ, and w
Steve Stanley
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Even though I’ve read one other book co-authored by Vanhoozer, this is the first book I’ve read exclusively written by Vanhoozer. I loved this book and I loved Vanhoozer’s writing!


Chris Wermeskerch
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great discussion on how both Scripture and doctrine are vital in creating Christlike disciples using a uniquely Protestant methodology. Lots of great content and easy to follow. The controlling metaphor of exercise and fitness helps brings the content to a finer point.

The only thing that I have about the writing is that it feels really redundant if you read more than one chapter per sitting. A lot of the same content said repeatedly with minor changes in words.
Jeremy Fritz
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Vanhoozer does a fantastic job of casting vision for making disciples by making the story of Scripture the primary story by which they view life. I also really enjoyed his reminder that theology is meant to build up the body rather than just be for the academy. Throughout the book it was clear that Jesus is the climax of the story and that discipleship is about being conformed to Christ.
Samuel Kassing
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. It’s essentially 8 chapters of Vanhoozer casting vision for why doctrine and theology are central to making disciples of Jesus.

He doesn’t get too practical, but the tracks are clear at the end of every chapter and the book shows over and over again how Jesus is central to the disciple making process.

My only qualms is that the chapters are too long. And I couldn’t give it to an incoming Freshman in college.
Aaron Lee
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What is the foundation of discipleship? Is it outreach events? Church programs? Relationships? Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine by Kevin J. Vanhoozer is a pastor’s guide to making disciples through Scripture and doctrine. It is a theology of discipleship by means of pastors preaching the Word and teaching sound doctrine.


Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Ph.D., Cambridge University) is an author and Research Professor of Systematic Theology at
Aaron Ventura
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very good. Vanhoozer takes the concept of physical fitness and shows how this metaphor explains the Christian life. The church is a "gymnasium" in which disciples must exercise their "core" in order to run the race set before them so as to win the prize. Although that might sound like a cringy youth pastor sermon, this book is anything but.

Highly recommend.
Jon Pentecost
Really helpful in providing a framework for pastoral ministry as fundamentally theological work--and theology as fundamentally pastoral work, aimed at building disciples up into maturity in Christ, able to be faithful in their lives.

Graciously cuts against pragmatic sensibilities that treat doctrine as distant from real--not by critiquing pragmatists so much as by showing a better, more biblical way.

Highly recommend for pastors and those aspiring to pastoral ministry.
Glenn Wishnew III
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The playfulness of his metaphors combined with the richness of his thoughts make for an entertaining and informative read.

I continue to seek out what God does and how God forms a person to put on Christ. This book is a nice place to continue that journey.

David Barnes
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: discipleship
This is one of the best books on discipleship that I’ve read. Loved his exploration of “social imaginaries” which connects well with James K.A Smith’s cultural liturgies’ books. If you’re a pastor, I highly recommend this book.
Michael Philliber
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At 58, I still love physical fitness. I run 4 miles three times a week, lift weights, and keep up with my Tae Kwon Do. Though it doesn't come easy, it did come early, and it came with loads of guidance and instruction. In my Junior High and High School years I received instruction and coaching on various aspects of running and lifting. I also received years of training from three martial arts instructors patiently guiding me through routines, sparring and weapons drills. These experiences and my ...more
Jimmy Reagan
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kevin Vanhoozer is one of our sharpest theological minds today. He so often breaks into territory that no one else tackles. He may wrestle with a multitude of heavy theological works, but he is the guy to bring it to the rest of us. Since his latest subject here is that of making disciples, particularly from a pastor’s point of view, and since there’s a glut in the market on discipleship, he shows the league apart that he works in amongst a world of works that all say the same thing. Make room a ...more
Will Dole
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Kevin J. Vanhoozer has written perhaps the most helpful book for pastors that I've ever read. His claim that "reading Scripture theologically is the royal road to discipleship" (pg xi) is both, in my estimation, exactly right and and woefully under embraced. I'm not sure a lot of Christians would even know what to do with a phrase such as, "reading Scripture theologically."

This is not a how-to book in the sense of "start this program and run it for 75 days, followed by a 43 day fast, and 12 con
Matt Quintana
This was easily my favorite book of the year, and I would go so far as to count it among one of my favorite books all-time. As a premier theologian and academic, here Vanhoozer displays extraordinary practical wisdom and pastoral sensitivity. His aim in writing this book for the church is very commendable. The thrust of Vanhoozer's argument is that the best way for pastors to make disciples is through biblical teaching and theological instruction. In a day and age where so many ministry guides a ...more
Joseph Bradley
Jul 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Vanhoozer argues for a reclamation of the two things that shape Christian discipleship: Scripture and Doctrine. The goal for pastors, he claims, is to help their people understand not only what Scripture says, but what it means for their lives; to reclaim the “social imaginary” of the Christian in an age of counterfeits. This piece is well-written, passionately argued, and will be a huge help to pastors trying to escape the modern “church-growth” strategies by getting back to the basics: Scriptu ...more
Mitchell Dixon
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read by Vanhoozer and I can see why so many people praise his work. He does an amazing job of explaining why we should not only hear the word, but it should be conforming us into the image of Christ.
Scripture acts as corrective lenses to give us a proper view of reality and the meaning of history. We need to recognize that everything in our life is trying to define the ultimate meaning for us, but we need to let scripture wash over us and help draw us into a deeper re
Tim Norman
Oct 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Vanhoozer offers great insights into the importance of Scripture and its application in the life of the church. He brings together his wealth of theological insight, grasp of the Reformation, and understanding of modern culture.

Some folks may find this hard to read. The chapters are long.
Nov 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love his writing style. So eloquent and clear. Although it could've been shorter, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have learned a lot. ...more
Brian Bement
Jan 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal book on discipleship, very helpful. Thankful for VanHoozer's wisdom and biblical exegesis. ...more
Nathaniel Martin
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Becky Hintz
Dec 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In this surprisingly refreshing book the author takes a different approach to the task of discipleship. Believers in Christ come to maturity as they understand and live out their role in the great drama of God's redemption story. Those who would see Christ formed in a person (whether in themselves or others) must first change the way they think, the frame through which they see the world and their own place in it. We do this by marinating in the great Story and stories of Scripture: Who is God a ...more
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I appreciate the need for pastors better to understand how to use Scripture to train up their congregation in doctrine and godliness. Throughout this book Vanhoozer carries the metaphor of getting the body fit through constant exercise and careful diet. He has lots of good things to say but struggles to put forth a strong thesis in a compelling way. I frequently found myself saying, "Hmm, that's interesting--but how does it relate to the point of your book"?

Perhaps he is trying to do too much, d
A. Blake White
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Good, but boy was it overhyped.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: discipleship
Good stuff, academic throughout, dissertation style, lacked cohesiveness. I disagree with the author's reformed theology, and some conclusions, but overall good truths within. Uses metaphors for church and discipleship that are beneficial.

Making disciples involves more than informing minds or forming habits, but also transforming imaginations.

V argues that doctrine and theology is used for disciple making in constructing a new social imaginary, different from culture. “No other social imaginary
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Kevin J. Vanhoozer ("KJV") gives a much-needed dose of reality in this little book published in an attractive hardcover by Lexham Press. For me, as a pastor-theologian myself, I picked up this book hoping for insight and encouragement, and that's what I got. The book isn't necessarily "original," but it's not intended to be. What I found in the book was a reasoned argument for the necessity of teaching Scripture and doctrine to God's people at a time when many pastors are unaware of the cultural ...more
Josiah Durfee
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I felt that this book is very similar to Smith's book, You are what you Worship, and if you had to choose between the two I would read Smith's book. Whereas Smith focuses on developing heart habits, Vanhoozer focuses on developing a kingdom like "social imagery" (There's a lot of similarity between the two, but Smith outshines Vanhoozer in providing a historical Augustinian/Aristotle view on heart-habit formation). Vanhoozer takes three dominant images in culture (Health, Nutrition, Fitness) and ...more
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Kevin J. Vanhoozer is currently Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. From 1990-98 he was Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at New College, University of Edinburgh. Vanhoozer received a BA from Westmont College, an M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, England having studied under Nicholas Las ...more

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