This book was originally published in 1991 under the title A Consumer’s Guide to Preaching. Since there are many books dealing with how to preach but few on how to listen to preaching, Adams decided to republish the book for a new audience. Adams states, “I have written this book because of the dearth of material devoted to genuine concern for preaching from the listener’s point of view. So far as I know, there is no other book like it” (p. 9). While a few others now exist (see my reviews on Expository Listening and The Family at Church), this little book is very helpful. Adams’ writings are always biblically based and practical. Be Careful How You Listen is no exception.
The author deals with preparation for listening, the listener’s attitude and expectations, how to analyze a sermon, the various types of sermons, discernment, and even how to handle a poor sermon. Anyone will benefit from reading this volume and it would make an excellent manual for teaching a class on this subject.
Adams closes his book with excerpts from 31 sermons as an exercise in practicing principles taught in the book. I personally did not find this chapter helpful, as the disciplines of reading a sermon and listening to a sermon are vastly different. Nevertheless, these sermon snippets are interesting.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel.