Writing Style 8

Buried within the chapter on concision in Williams and Colombs’ book Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (10th Edition) is a transformative writing principle—perhaps one of the most important of all!

To become a good writer, you need to read the best writers.

Read the best and model your writing after theirs. Don’t think for a moment that great writers didn’t do the same. Scot McKnight, who I think is one of today’s good evangelical writers, told me he reads a portion of C. S. Lewis every day before he writes. You become a good writer by reading good writing.

Question: Who do you consider the best evangelical writers today both in the academy and the church?

I’ve mentioned Scot already who crosses over both. I would certainly add Tom Wright  (who also crosses over) to this list along with Gordon Fee and Dick France (academy) and Eugene Peterson (church). One writer whose work I greatly appreciate, but whose writing is in my estimation overly dense is Kevin Vanhoozer. I wish Kevin would write more accessible books!

I’ve named a few what about you?

  • Tim H

    I think David Bentley Hart has an excellent and sharp wit about his writing (almost in the style of Clive James – another one to read before writing).

    Jurgen Moltmann has an wonderful flow to his work, which I’ve found helps it be immediately accessible to new undergraduates (often a key sign).

    But Lewis is certainly the master, his economy of words with matters of major insight is sublime.

  • Tim H

    I think David Bentley Hart has an excellent and sharp wit about his writing (almost in the style of Clive James – another one to read before writing).

    Jurgen Moltmann has an wonderful flow to his work, which I’ve found helps it be immediately accessible to new undergraduates (often a key sign).

    But Lewis is certainly the master, his economy of words with matters of major insight is sublime.

  • Joshua Wooden

    Most of my top picks are for those that write for the church. C.S. Lewis is at the top of my list (as he undoubtedly is for many), for originality, creativity and innovation. In short, Lewis was a great writer by anybodies standards, and we’re lucky he decided to write for the church. N.T. Wright is a close second (and he writes for both the church and the academy). His writing is accessible, but I love that he doesn’t shy away from difficult concepts, which is easy to do when you’re not writing for other scholars who already know the language. And I’ve just gotten into Eugene Peterson. Unbelievable. His writing style makes me feel like I’m sitting down in a living room talking to him in person. And he’s deep, too. Francis Chan has some great things to say, but I personally think he’s a better preacher than he is a writer (not that he’s a bad writer – he’s just an incredible preacher).

  • Joshua Wooden

    Most of my top picks are for those that write for the church. C.S. Lewis is at the top of my list (as he undoubtedly is for many), for originality, creativity and innovation. In short, Lewis was a great writer by anybodies standards, and we’re lucky he decided to write for the church. N.T. Wright is a close second (and he writes for both the church and the academy). His writing is accessible, but I love that he doesn’t shy away from difficult concepts, which is easy to do when you’re not writing for other scholars who already know the language. And I’ve just gotten into Eugene Peterson. Unbelievable. His writing style makes me feel like I’m sitting down in a living room talking to him in person. And he’s deep, too. Francis Chan has some great things to say, but I personally think he’s a better preacher than he is a writer (not that he’s a bad writer – he’s just an incredible preacher).


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