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The Preaching Notes Series Introduction


Several months ago my friend Justin Buzzard sent me a copy of some preaching notes by Tim Keller. When I shared it with my friend Justin Taylor, he suggested I do a series of posts here on the blog where I shared not only Tim's notes but also the notes of other preachers. I thought this was a good idea. I'm often asked by other pastors what my notes look like, and I'm always curious to see how other men work.

So over the next few weeks we're going to do a series of posts that feature a brief introduction to a preacher and then a link to a PDF of the notes from one of his sermons. The PDF document will show exactly what that pastor carried into the pulpit when he preached his message. I think you'll enjoy the diversity of styles. Some men do full manuscripts; others write out much less. Most type, one writes his sermons by hand. The goal is to show pastors the different ways that preachers work and hopefully encourage them in the preaching task.

The men we've obtained manuscripts from so far include:

- Mark Dever
- Mike Bullmore
- C.J. Mahaney
- Ray Ortlund, Jr.
- Tim Keller
- Mark Driscoll
- Joshua Harris (me)
If you are, or work with any well-known preachers, and can convince them to participate in the series by sharing an actual manuscript, please let me know. I'd love to expand this list.

So if you're a preacher, an aspiring preacher or you're someone who enjoys good preaching, I hope you'll enjoy this series.

Recommended Resource: If you're looking for a good book on preaching, my favorite is John Stott's classic Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today

Comments (28)

I am excited to see these manuscripts. This is probably one of the most practical helps available. It is one one thing to read about methods, and another to see them put to real practice. Thank you for this great lesson in preaching. I'll be looking forward to them!


I'm Jeff, 29 from the Philippines. I've read your 3 books: I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, and Not Even A Hint. But I'm not going to tell you much your work have impacted my life. Not even the impact of Cov Life sermons I've downloaded and listened to countless times.

This is my first time to leave a comment on your blog. I'm just excited about this "preaching notes."

I preach in our Church twice in a month and I really find preaching a blessing but I also found out it is so difficult.

I hope your ideas and other pastors' ideas may help me in any way to be an effective messenger of God's Word.

I'm really looking forward to this. I am only 17, but I have preached several times in my church and other churches. Since I don't really have any schooling, I would love to learn more about writing sermons.

Thanks. I'm looking forward to this series.


This is awesome! I can't wait to see how these guy prepare their messages. I think this well help us all a great deal! Thanks Josh.

Oh and one more thing..It would be cool if you would post notes from one of your sermons as well!

This is very cool! I am really looking forward to this series of posts! Thanks for deciding to do this!

And, I agree with Lance, it would be really neat to see the notes from one of your sermons...

looking forward to see those notes. it'll be a such valuable learning experience. thank you.


I think you should ask your dad to participate in the sermon notes series. I sent him an email and told him about the series. I go to HOFCC in Gresham. It would be a blessing for other preachers to see how he prepares.


Sounds like a great idea.

Ps: This is kinda what we've been trying to do at BeginningWithMoses.org for the last few years with these biblical theology briefings - where we get preachers to submit both their preaching notes and then to expand on the logic of why they did what they did. Submissions v.welcome!

Hi josh,

i found 'boy meets girl'on a friend's shelf just last week and i picked up to read. I subsequenly stopped the previuos book i was reading prio to seeing your book. Its amazing. i love it and i love u. You are one of a kind. am a young pastor of 27 and i have quickly identified with u and your ministry through reading your book. You are a very great person and u challenge me a lot. i have re-read some pages of your book more than 3 times alrady. Its a blessing. you seem to have a lot more in common with me apart from both of us being pastors. This is the first book i have read that is so spot on and no negotiations on the issues of purity and christisnity. We have similar perspactives and that is why i want us to be friends. I wish u could get back to me so we can be very good friends if you dont mind. I totally agree with your position on everything you write, i mean it , all. If you can get in touch quickly , we could be great friends and then i will share my story with you. I believe the world today needs more JOSHUA HARRISES. Sorry if u feel flatterred but i mean this. God bless you.Am even doing a series of teachings for my youth ministry on the topic ABSTINENCE and its a blessing to have your book at this crucial time. I have done 6 parts already. Infact am going to town today to buy the rest of your books. I wonder why i never ever heard abt u. I have always been looking forward to meet someone like you esp from your part of the world which has weak morals and yet you have such perception. You are a real gift to the kingdom of God. And
please get back soon

god bless you


from Ghana.

Sounds real interesting...

Thanks for this very helpful series. I was encouraged to see that Mark Dever's notes and mine look very, very similar in form but of course, his are MUCH better in content! I've never gotten away from a full manuscript though I believe I don't come across as though I'm reading it word for word.

In Martin Lloyd-Jones' mammoth series of commentaries on Romans, the very last one contains in the inside cover his notes on the first sermon on Romans 1:1, and in the inside of the back his notes from the last sermon (Romans 14:7?). The others might contain it too, but I haven't checked.

I'm looking forward to this.

One question: Why just well-known preachers? If a preacher who wasn't well known were to have an interesting or creative set of notes that might aid new (or old) preachers, why not share them too?

That would be less Corinthian, and also v. helpful to many.

Just a suggestion.

Thanks Josh.

I agree with Justin above. Lesser known preachers may provide as helpful notes!


Another person to consider in this series is John MacArthur. There are copies of his sermon notes in his volume Rediscovering Expository Preaching. They are quite helpful.

I agree with others that it would helpful to see notes of less well-known preachers too.
Grace & Peace,
Brian Hedges

Another person you might want to consider is Stephen Davey of Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, NC.

Simply one of Christ's servants in New England,
Dave Ricard


I wondered have you contacted James MacDonald to see his preaching notes?

A friend recently saw him preach and he appears to have all his notes on one half-sheet of paper, written on both sides, and color coded with various highlighters.

Anyway, it really piqued my curiosity. MacDonald is a pretty solid and dynamic preacher, so I would love to see the notes he works from.

Also, he seems pretty committed to training pastors and church planters (http://www.harvestbiblefellowship.org/Content.aspx?content_id=95652&site_id=10295) so I think he would be willing to share his notes.

thanks for your consideration!

In Christ,

Hello all. Thanks for the series Josh!!! Does anyone have the audio files for the Ray Ortlund, Jr. or the Tim Keller sermon that corresponds to the posted notes? If so... can you post the link to the audio file? I want to listen to their sermon and compare it to their notes.


Good and helpful post Josh.
I have just completed a critique of Mark's Doctrine sermon on Revelation 5 at my blogspot, http://www.thechristianworldview.blogspot.com and have used your image of Driscoll's preaching notes as I believe this shows the inadequacy of having skimpy preaching notes. I did send a copy to Mark so that he might respond but I haven't heard any reply. I hope he does because the critique was also meant to make positive suggestions about preaching.

In Christ

many preachers, refuse to show notes, but this is very helpful for I always wondered how others write out their sermons
Mine arent as detail, i like short to the point, using the night before to "slow walk" the passages
thanks guys may the lord bless you

this series is very helpful,
knowing that many of us approach sermons in the same manner

this series is very helpful,
knowing that many of us approach sermons in the same manner

James MacDonald just issued a post (video and pdf) on his notes found at


Hey!!! i really like this series..Thanks

Hey i would like to tell you, that it could be cool, if you get the John Piper's one....

Another good ideas is, try to make a series about the Studing's bible style of some pastor, as you did with this series..I would like to see this , and how do you write and mark your bibles. This would help me a lot because i am Young preacher who want to learn more and more..

Thank man...God Bless You

Would love to see Piper and Sproul if you could get them. That would be a great addition to this series.


I like the idea you have here it will inspire more of us to look into open ministry I call it that because we preach in privacy of our own homes.But looking at this aticle I feel as though I NEED TO SHARE THE POWERFUL BLESSING THAT HAS BEEN PUT ON ME!

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