Saving Eutychus

How to preach God's word and keep people awake

from 4 reviews

Look at the practical issues of preaching biblical text, and keeping people awake.

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Poor Eutychus might have tumbled off his perch in Acts 20, but it’s humbling to notice that what took Paul many hours of preaching to achieve - near-fatal napping in one of his listeners - takes most preachers only a few minutes on a Sunday.

Saving Eutychus will help you save your listeners from such a fate. Written by an Aussie and an Irishman with very different styles who share a passion for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Saving Eutychus delivers fresh, honest, faithful and practical insights into preaching the whole word of God, Sunday by Sunday, without being dull.

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  • An Aussie and an Irishman walk into a pulpit…
  • Saving Eutychus
  • 1. Saving Eutychus 101: it’s not about you
  • 2. Preaching that changes the heart
  • 3. Deadly, dull and boring
  • 4. So what’s the big idea?
  • 5. Why preaching the gospel is so hard (especially from the Old
  • Testament)
  • 6. Stand and deliver
  • 7. Faithful wounds: the importance of critique in preaching
  • 8. Let’s build a sermon: Phil walks through the process of writing last
  • Sunday’s sermon
  • Appendix 1: Real-life examples of sermon critique
  • Appendix 2: Resources

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Author Phil Campbell, Gary Millar
ISBN 9781922206251
Format Paperback
First published April 2013
Dimensions 138mm x 208mm x 12mm
Print size 10pt
Language English
Pages 176
Publisher Matthias Media

D. A. Carson

Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

I have read books on how to make sure your sermon is interesting, and I have read books on how to make sure your sermon is faithful to the text, but this book wants your sermon to be both. If I could, I would make this little book mandatory reading for seminarians everywhere, and then urge them to read it a couple more times during the course of their ministry. It avoids cutesy and manipulative suggestions, and makes its practical points while urging integrity, faithfulness, and imagination. Many books on preaching are published every year; this one is a "must.

William Philip

Senior Minister, The Tron Church, Glasgow

Some writing so solemnly exalts the task of preaching, or so heavily complicates the method, it depresses and discourages ordinary mortals like me into thinking we can never really do it and should just give up. Since most preachers feel that every Sunday night anyway, such books don't really help the cause! This one does. I like it because it is short, (lighthearted but not lightweight), very human, and very much to the point. I am involved in training preachers, but I still have plenty to learn. I am very grateful for a resource that will both help me, and help me in helping others—with enjoyment, encouragement and some fun along the way!

Dale Ralph Davis

Bible expositor and author

This book teems with ‘plusses’: it is short (as a tome that takes Eutychus as its poster boy must be); it is stretching (the authors force one to deal with longer texts—and leave one asking, “Why can’t I summarize extended passages like that?”); it is specific (they include actual sermons with critique); it is searching (in case you skip the first chapter, ‘pray’ occurs eight times in the conclusion); and stirring (you still want to preach when you’ve finished reading). If you don’t buy the book, don’t cry if Eutychus isn’t saved!

Independent reviews

Saving Eutychus

Bert Daniel, 9Marks, November 3rd 2014

If you are a preacher or an aspiring preacher, you should buy, read, and put this book into practice. Don’t take my word for it. D. A. Carson asserts, “Many books on preaching are published every year; this one is a ‘must.’”... continue reading

Saving Eutychus

Tim Challies,, April 16th 2013

.A. Carson, a man who knows far more about preaching than I ever will, describes Saving Eutychus a “must” and says that if he could he would make it mandatory reading for seminarians; he would also force them read it a couple of times during the course of their ministry. Alistair Begg also puts it in the “must read” category and compares it with the classic works by John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This is high praise, but praise that is well-deserved. It is an excellent book and one any preacher or public speaker would do well to read.... continue reading

Saving Eutychus

Dave McDonald, Macarisms, February 25th 2013

I’ll be recommending it to the preachers in our church and networks. I’ll be encouraging those training to give Bible talks to work carefully through this book. I’ll be suggesting they listen to some recordings of the authors to see how they model what they teach. I’ll be critiquing my own preparation and talks in the light of the wisdom here.... continue reading

Customer reviews



The book is worth it if just for the brilliant title! But it is far more than just a title. This accessible and enjoyable book packs a bundle of experience bought wisdom.


“Encouraging preachers to be engaging”

'Why does it seem like all the preachers who come out of this college are true but dull and all the preachers out of that college are engaging but wrong?'

So a friend lamented to me about the graduates from two bible colleges. Often times in listening to sermons it can seem this way – that a true understanding and communication of the text leads to a dullness in delivery and that a lack of concern over right understanding means the preacher says whatever they like, but does so in an interesting manner.

Saving Eutychus (possibly the worst title for a book I have ever encountered) is targeted at the first type of preacher, as revealed by the books sub-title 'How to preach God's word and keep people awake'. Those who have first learned to write an essay before learning to write (and deliver) a sermon will benefit greatly from the pastoral heart of the books two authors as they share their own struggles in learning to preach well – and in doing so share much good advice on how to preach well. Their concern here is to help a preacher such as this to love not only God, his word and the truth – but to love people so much and in such a way that their hearers also develop a love of God and his word – and that cannot happen if they fall asleep halfway through your sermon.

I strongly suspect that the second type of preacher will also benefit from reading this book. Much of the advice they give an engaging preacher would probably do already (maybe even unconsciously). What would impact a preacher who is a bit slipshod when it comes to their understanding of the bible – is the way these two authors have such a high value of the Bible. They clearly consider it to be the very word of the true and living God, and that to mishandle it (to teach it wrongly) – is a great offence to God and a disservice to his people. In this, as they want to develop in the preacher not only a love of people (and the how hearing their acclaim) but a love of God that demands a commitment to communicating His truth to His people.

And even if you're one of the great ones – who preaches truth in an engaging and accessible way – there will be plenty of good reminders to keep at the task and help along the way. I for one borrowed a great illustration to use in last weeks sermon!


“Extremely useful and practical”

Did he fall or was he pushed?
Gary Millar and Phil Campbell have written an excellent book that will, if it’s lessons are applied reduce the risk of either.
Gary and Phil have written this book, not primarily for sleepy listeners, but serious preachers, with yawning listeners most definitely in view.
Far from being a technical preaching manual, ‘Saving Eutychus’ is more a chatty, practical and short (171 pages) ‘how to’ guide, full of useful tips and tricks without compromising the importance of expository preaching. Their purpose is to help preachers communicate the truth of the Gospel without resorting to gimmicks in a way that captures both the meaning of the text and the minds of the listeners.
Here is a book of principles, articulated carefully and clearly within the context of two different personalities and styles. Some books on preaching seem to forget that we are all different. This is not true of Saving Eutychus. Phil preaches for 23 minutes (where does he get that figure from?); Gary doesn’t, (his sermon was 28 minutes). In this way, the reader can lift the principles and incorporate them into his own sermon preparation and delivery. If preaching is ‘truth poured through personality’ (Phillips Brooks), then Gary and Phil’s book gives plenty of room for each individual to take the principles and make them their own.
Overall, here is an extremely useful book which I have so far read, re-read and have no reservations in recommending it to others.
David Childs Pastor Strathaven Evangelical Church


“Very practical and helpful”

This is an excellent little book on preaching which says a lot in a refreshingly concise way. One of its strengths is that it's very practical without being unnecessarily technical. Though I've heard many of the challenges of the book presented before I find it's very easy to unconsciously slip into bad habits - this book very helpfully shook me out of them! The challenge in chapter 4 to work hard and long at distilling "the big idea" (rather than prematurely caving in to the temptation to start writing the sermon is especially helpful.

I felt mildly uncomfortable by chapter 6's encouragement to craft our 'zing'. I agree there should be zing but I'm just sensitive to the fact that zing in our speech should be the overflow of genuine zing in our hearts! Phil does make this point at the end of the chapter so perhaps I'm being over-sensitive to the danger of 'performing'.

I would highly recommend this book to new preachers and seasoned preachers alike. Witty, concise, clear, challenging, biblical and genuinely helpful - sounds like a good sermon!

Lewis, Pastor of Stoke Poges Free Church

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Saving Eutychus | Phil Campbell, Gary Millar | £9.99 £7.99