10 Greatest Preachers of All Time

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Who do you consider the ten greatest preachers of all time?  Who would make your list? Comment and tell us and why.

Ten Greatest Preachers

The preachers I have selected may differ from yours but those that I have selected were based upon the impact that they had on their churches, on the individuals in those churches and in the society or areas in which they did their ministries.  These men poured out their lives like a drink offering, leaving nothing left by the end of their lives and giving more than a hundred Christians might give in a lifetime.  Just how much impact they will have made cannot be estimated or completely understood until that day that we stand before the Lord for our rewards and see our treasures in heaven.  There are so many down through the ages that it is hard to select just ten but these were among the greatest preachers of all time, if not for all eternity.  Naturally, I should put Jesus first because not only was He the Word, He is the Authority behind the Word and His preaching cut to the quick.  Obviously, all preaching flows from Him as He directs the church, being the Head of the Church, so clearly Jesus Christ is the greatest preacher of all time.  Others would argue that it was John the Baptist who was said to be the greatest of men born to women (Matt 11:11) but at this time I am restricting this article to those chosen, human vessels to Whom He has called and He has anointed beyond the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

#10  The Preacher Apostle Paul

Who can argue that the Apostle Paul was not the most effective preacher of the Word.  We cannot overlook Paul just because He was the most prolific of writers in the New Testament or that he planted churches throughout the Roman Empire because much of his of preaching was done in his letters to the churches.  Preachers for two-thousand years would use his letters to proclaim the gospel to their congregation and to the lost.  His preaching in the books of the New Testament is still effectually bringing people to Christ through the use of the law to humble them and then grace coming to those who were broken over their sins.

Paul was so bold that he once walked right into the Areopagus, and preached to thousands of Greeks who knew nothing of the One, True God.  He told them in contrast to the altar that was dedicated to the “unknown god” he was about to proclaim to them the “God who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:23-24).  Prior to that he walked right into the synagogue and told them about Christ and even those in the public square that Jesus whom they had crucified was God in the flesh (Acts 17:17) and he did this every day.  He was not afraid of men in the sense that he would not back down in telling all about Christ.  He did acknowledge that he came at times with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).  I can tell you from experience that this is a fearful thing.  I have done street preaching and my palms get sweaty, my heart races and I begin to sweat — but how can I not proclaim the gospel when I feel that there is nothing more important for a Christian to share than the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and people who step out of this life without Christ will be eternally separated from Him?

#9  The Prince of Preachers, Charles Haden Spurgeon

There are few arguments that this man, Charles Haden Spurgeon,  is the preacher among preachers outside of the Bible and he was called the Prince of Preachers.  Testimony to that are the more than 300 million copies of his sermons and his influence in the formation of over 200 other churches.  In my own personal library I have some of Charles Spurgeon’s written sermons that are nearly as powerful as the Scriptures themselves.  He preached to some ten million people worldwide and in the church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, it was always jam packed with five thousand people with an overflow of another one thousand. He tirelessly proclaimed the gospel even though he suffered greatly from depression and physical ailments which neither slowed him down nor stopped him from giving his messages. He was clearly one of the greatest of all time.

Who do you consider the ten greatest preachers of all time?

Who do you consider the ten greatest preachers of all time?

#8  Martin Luther, the Reformer

Most people only think of Martin Luther as the Reformer or having begun the Great Reformation.  He had this to his credit but he was also an astoundingly great Bible expositor.  While imprisoned, he translated the Bible into German. The Protestant church clearly owes this man’s selfless effort and bold, courageous work in what had been missing for centuries; that we are saved by grace and not by works.  His commitment to the centrality of the Scripture over church tradition and his emphasis on salvation by grace is still the essential to any successful church today.

#7  The Tireless John Wesley

Whatever this man had, he gave every ounce of his fiber to it.  Under his direction, the Methodist church, the real founder of it, made the gospel a social one where Christians were expected to be salt and light and getting the salt out of the shaker and the light out from under the basket, being the chief advocate for as an abolitionist while fighting slavery when it was not popular to do so. This great man of God preached over 40,000 sermons, gave away more than 30,000 pounds (today, that is around 100 thousand dollars), and rode over a quarter of a million miles on horseback. He once bemoaned about growing old and sorrowed over sleeping in until 5 AM!

#6  George Whitfield, Laborer of the Word

George Whitfield’s preaching drove and helped to sustain the Great Awakening, at the time the greatest revival that the world had ever seen since Jonah preached to Nineveh and the whole city-state repented.  This man preached over 40 hours a week!  Martin-Lloyd Jones, himself one of the greatest preachers of all time, says that George Whitfield was the greatest preachers that England ever produced.  Of course, this was prior to Charles Haden Spurgeon.

#5  Jonathan Edwards, Scholar, Author and Preacher

Jonathan Edwards is believed by many scholars, both secular and Christian, to be the greatest intellect and philosopher that America ever produced.  This Puritan Preacher stood tall in the biblically centered message and life. His sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God made people weep and repent by the dozens and may be the single, greatest sermon ever preached from any pulpit.

#4  John Knox the Thundering Scott

Could this man, John Knox, ever put his soul into his preaching!  He was so inspiring that his preaching transformed all of Scotland.  Being a student of John Calvin, who is also in this list, may have been a case where the pupil outdid the teacher.  His Bible-centered preaching made people take up his passion for the lost souls of men and women.

#3  John Calvin, Gifted Scholar and Theologian

What John Calvin did for the gospel was to put to paper what had previously never been written about.  He was one of the first preachers to preach progressively through each book of the Bible.  He never preached topologically but his was expository; that is he exposited or preached from line to line giving a personal commentary for each verse.  His writings made the Bible easy to understand, even to the uneducated.  To his credit, he remained humble even though his fame spread throughout Europe.

#2  John Wycliffe, Philosopher, Theologian, and Preacher

John Wycliffe was one of the first proponents to make the Bible available to the common man and woman. He focused on Bible-centered reform knowing that most of the public heard sermons in either Latin or not at all.  He wanted them to be able to read a Bible in their own language so he translated the Bible himself so that they could.

#1  Who is Your Choice?

I have left the last one to you.  In my opinion, it could be the Apostle Peter who preached maybe the single greatest sermon ever on the Day of Pentecost.  It may have been Stephen who before the Sanhedrin gave one of the best surveys of the Old Testament in proclaiming Christ as the Promised Messiah.  There is also Alexander Maclaren, John Mac Arthur, Billy Graham, or Billy Sunday.  Maybe the greatest of the post-biblical era preachers is reading this today or hasn’t even been born.  Remember that God uses men who are least likely in the world’s eyes to succeed and as I have heard it said, God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  I consider myself to not even be in these men’s shadows but the power is always in the message and never in the messenger, that way God always received the glory for He is not only deserving of it, He is worthy.

Here is a similar article for you to read: 10 Most Influential Christian Leaders

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Lovel December 17, 2017 at 8:05 pm

McArthur, RC Sproul, Dr David Jeremiah, John Piper, Dr H Wyne House have had a tremendous impact on me. Scripture and these men have made me an unrepentant calvanist. Now, I can say with conviction that Christ’s blood is sufficient for all but only efficient for the elect.

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Jack Wellman December 17, 2017 at 9:04 pm

The passing of Dr. R.C. Sproul was a huge loss in the world of biblical scholarship. He had such a great impact and focused on the holiness of God…and only for the glory of God.

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Ron Johnson May 18, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Sorry I cannot vote for someone who reads their sermons! There is nothing that gets in my craw more than seeing the top of some preachers head while the read from 6 pages for 25 minutes,They are wonderful guys but as far as communicating I was told to look at my audience in homiletics class so David Jeremiajh is out. Years ago he did not do that so I don’t know what happened.

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Jack Wellman May 18, 2019 at 6:11 pm

You bring up a good point. I don’t even use notes but have little markings or notations on my Bible as I go verse by verse, much like Dr. John MacArthur and the late. Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Thank you for your comment sir.

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Suresh Madramootoo December 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

Dear beloved yes you right about these real men of God.i like them all,can you please help me with some of they messges by post,at.suresh madramootoo.p.o,box.1454paramaribo.suriname.

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Aylaeh Cline March 2, 2018 at 12:36 pm

What about Billy Graham?

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Jack Wellman March 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Hello Aylaeh. Of course as I said in the conclusion, “There is also Alexander Maclaren, John Mac Arthur, Billy Graham, or Billy Sunday” so we had to limit these to preachers as Dr. Graham was an evangelist more than a preacher, even though called “America’s Pastor,” so yes, I agree…he could easily be included in this group. Thank you for your comment Aylaeh.

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Peggy March 2, 2018 at 11:11 pm

The greatest servants of God are those who actually bring souls to Christ. Those who preach the word of God are more like teachers of the Word and not all of them actually bring souls to Christ, but more so uplift those who have already accepted Christ.

That being said I vote for Billy Graham. To my knowledge, no one else since the apostles has claimed that they have brought millions of souls from all around the globe to Christ for their salvation. True BG had the advantage of modern transportation and the media in all forms, but then that is why God chose to have him born during modern times so that the gospel could reach people all around the world to the ends of the earth.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t another great evangelist that could do all that he has done, not until the two great witnesses come and then the world had better heed their calling!

Praise God! Jesus is coming soon!

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Richard Copeland March 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm

One of my personal favorites is A.W. Tozer who was one of those who could not be put into a “theological box” and was what I call “an eloquent grandfather” within the way he ministered.

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karsten May 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm

the greatest preacher was w/o doubt Sri Krishna!

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Jack Wellman May 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Hello Karsten. Thank you for your comment and suggestion, however, Sri Krishna is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshiped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right but since Krishna is human, as it says he was born, then he is not god since a god by definition has always existed, as has Jesus Christ, so unless you have the right God and the right Savior (Jesus Christ), you and all who reject Jesus will die in your sins. Please repent sir, I plead with you, and come to Christ and put your trust in Him, and not in a someone who is not god (as he was born).

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Dennis Kachale November 19, 2018 at 8:00 am

I hear you

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Min. Edward J. Ailsworth October 24, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Charles Spurgeon

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Jack Wellman October 24, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Yes, we agree. Charles Spurgeon belongs on this this and he is on this list. Did you see what we wrote about him?

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Rev December 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

What about Billy Graham?

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Jack Wellman December 21, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Yes, Billy, and as I said in the conclusion, “There is also Alexander Maclaren, John Mac Arthur, Billy Graham, or Billy Sunday” so we could only take 10.

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Gabriel December 26, 2018 at 8:24 pm

What about Martyn Lloyd Jones? Three of my personal favorites Leonard Ravenhill, Paul Washer & David Wilkerson

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Ricky Ng January 18, 2019 at 12:46 am

I think John Sung should be on the list..

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Precious Omenazu January 26, 2019 at 3:44 am

My NO. 1 is Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, because he lets you see a whole new level of perception of the Word of Good

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Lalrindika February 1, 2019 at 8:03 am

for me, next to Apostole Paul, Watchmann Nee, i love this man very much,

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jeanrobert February 1, 2019 at 10:18 am

What type of list is this? You put Calvin next to the Apostle Paul, the writer of 13 epistles of the New Testament who was caught up to the third heaven? Romans 8,9,10 says God is not done with Israel. Calvin said the Church has replaced Israel. This list is foolishness.

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Jack Wellman February 1, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Hello JeanRobert. I am sorry you think this list is foolish. Yes, God is not done with Israel, but there is no continuing corporate election of Israel, only election of individual Israelites who accept Christ for He is the only way (Acts 4:12). Jesus spoke harshly to those who claimed to beAbraham’s children, but it is not by race but by grace, and that’s what Calvin was teaching. That is clear. There is neither Jew nor Greek nor male or female, but all one in Christ. Not by seed but by our Savior.

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Nasser March 11, 2019 at 11:22 am

Smith Wigglesworth.

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Jack Wellman March 11, 2019 at 11:36 am

Hello Nasser. Thank you for your suggestion, however, there are issues with this man. Many people said they were cured of cancer by him. Wigglesworth, whose only training was as a plumber, described cancer as “a living evil spirit”, and insisted that many diseases were “satanic in origin”. His methods often involved hitting, slapping or punching the afflicted part of the body. On a number of occasions his approach to persons suffering from stomach complaints was to punch them in the stomach, sometimes with such force that it propelled them across the room. When challenged on this, his response was “I don’t hit them, I hit the devil”. Responding to criticism over his method of praying for the sick, Wigglesworth stated: “You might think by the way I went about praying for the sick that I was sometimes unloving and rough, but oh, friends, you have no idea what I see behind the sickness and the one who is afflicted. I am not dealing with the person; I am dealing with the satanic forces that are binding the afflicted”. On one occasion Wigglesworth declared to the sick “I’ll only pray for you once, to pray twice is unbelief”. The second night, a man approached the altar to receive prayer again and Wigglesworth, recognizing him, said “Didn’t I pray for you last night? You are full of unbelief, get off this platform!” This is certainly not the approach Jesus Christ took on healing others…and sometimes, healing those who had little or no faith. I suggest you do a biographical research on this man and tell me what you think.

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Eeenpie April 4, 2019 at 3:13 am

Smith Wiggle-worth had his ways, had his weaknesses you may say. Is there anyone in the list without a flaw?
Are we able to judge him for those methods you mention only? How about those that actually went away with their healing? Yes, he punches you and cancer leaves. Yes he challenges your unbelief even Jesus did so with His disciples. So some people need a challenge like that. Is that all you are able to recall of the man sir? I am not here to make a case for anyone anyways. God has the final say. Thank you for your article.

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Emmanuel April 6, 2019 at 6:11 pm

John Piper, Billy Graham,

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Mike April 13, 2019 at 8:45 am

I thought Martyn Lloyd Jones was a surprise omission……but It was a hard job
Thanks and I enjoyed the comments also.

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Iyke Odiche Ozoma. May 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm

I just wish you read the upcoming book “Mind On Heaven”.I just believe in your wisdom you will speak good of it.It has 5 chapters
*1:-Counting LOSE As Gain*
*2:-Kingdom Of God And You*
*3:-What Do You Want In Life*
*4:-Only The Fool Can Make Heaven*
*5:-What’ s Your View Of The Kingdom Of God*
The author is not interested in what monetary gain to make but the spread the message and recover the stolen church.
Thanks.

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Brenda D. Lynn April 26, 2019 at 1:30 pm

J. Vernon McGhee should absolutely be added. He had all the education in God’s Word and in the Greek language that one man could obtain, and he attributed all of it to God’s grace. His Thru The Bible radio broadcast is still going out to all the world. God really used him to the glory and honor of His Only Begotten Son, and countless people have been saved under his preaching and teaching. I am still studying the Thru The Bible study books, and I really thank God for J. Vernon McGhee. He was very thorough with every scripture and could use other scripture throughout the Old and New Testament to bring wonderful light to rach scripture in God’s Word.

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