Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons, By Richard H. Cox alt

Rewiring Your Preaching

How the Brain Processes Sermons

by Richard H. Cox
Foreword by Dan G. Blazer

Rewiring Your Preaching
  • Length: 182 pages
  • Published: November 14, 2012
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 6640
  • ISBN: 9780830866403

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What preachers preach is not necessarily what hearers hear.

Have you ever wondered why some hearers are affected by a sermon but not others? The issue may not necessarily be the content or delivery of the message. It may be how your hearers' brains process what you say.

Modern neuroscience illuminates how our brains understand and hear sermons. Verbal stimuli can be accepted or rejected depending on the context of how they are received. The brain processes new information differently than information that reinforces already-held beliefs. To have long-term effect, new information must connect with previous memory.

Psychologist, physician and preacher Richard Cox shows that better understanding of the brain can help preachers be more effective in their preaching. Intentional, purposeful preaching can actually produce new neural pathways that change how the brain thinks and how its owner acts. Our brains are intimately connected with how our bodies work, especially in how brain stimuli produce behavioral responses and how people experience comfort and healing in times of pain.

God is at work in our brains to enable his people to hear him. Preach with the brain in mind, and help your hearers grow in mental, physical and spiritual health.

"Refreshingly, this book draws on the author's unique blend of theology, medicine and psychology, applying insights from neuroscience to sharpen understanding of the preaching event. It surprises, both by explaining links between brain and sermon and also by its wide reach of application that embraces worship, pastoring, healing and community. A different preaching book that really stimulates the preacher's brain!"

Michael Quicke, Professor of Preaching, Northern Seminary, and author of 360-Degree Preaching

"Richard Cox expertly and passionately exhorts those who occupy the pulpit to acquire the knowledge and skills from the brain sciences that can inform and shape their sermons. He clearly has worked diligently and effectively to do the same."

From the foreword by Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University Medical Center

"This is an intriguing, insightful look at the task of preaching from the perspective of the neurosciences. Dr. Richard Cox gives us preachers a new way of framing the preaching task. His work helps me to think about my own preaching in new and challenging ways."

Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School

"Dr. Cox offers a behind-the-scenes understanding of how modern medicine, psychology and neuroscience are important tools you can use to connect people with the Spirit of God at work in their lives."

Tony Myles, YouthWorker Journal, July/August 2013

"In a fascinating new book titled Rewiring Your Preaching, author Richard H. Cox draws on his medical and clerical backgrounds to explore what science is learning about the workings of our brains and how that knowledge can be of value to those who preach. This may be one of the few books ever published that unites neuroscience with theology to help us preach more effectively. . . . This is a book that deserves our attention and warrants a spot on the preacher's bookshelf."

Michael Duduit, Preaching, May/June 2013


1. Brainstorm vs. Short Circuit
2. Linking Brain and Sermon
3. The Brain Sees Preaching As Unique
4. The Brain Uses Preaching For Healing
5. The Core Process of Preaching is Brain Work
6. Preaching Provides Brain Energy
7. Brain Stimuli Produce Behavioral Responses
8. Preaching and Pastoring Are Different
9. Getting To the Brain with Theology
10. Preaching and the Brain in Pain
11. Brain Healing and the Soul
12. Brain Healing and the Mind
13. Brain Healing and the Body
14. Brain Healing and the Community
The Dénouement and Benediction


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Richard H. Cox

Richard H. Cox (M.D., Ph.D., D.Min.) is president emeritus of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, and teaches in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical School. He previously served on the faculties of Northwestern University Medical School and Rush University Medical School. An ordained clergyman in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Cox is the author of many journal articles and books, including The Sacrament of Psychology and Spirituality and Psychological Health.