Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

4th Edition

By Mark Dever, Foreword by H. B. Charles Jr.

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Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

4th Edition

By Mark Dever, Foreword by H. B. Charles Jr.

... Show All

What Makes for a Healthy Church?

You may have read books on this topic before but not like this one. Instead of an instruction manual for church growth, this classic text points to basic biblical principles for assessing and strengthening the health of your church. Whether you’re a pastor, a leader, or an involved member of your congregation, studying the nine marks of a healthy church will help you cultivate new life and well-being within your own church for God’s glory.

This revised edition includes two new chapters; updated material on prayer, missions, evangelism, and the gospel; and a foreword by H. B. Charles Jr.


Mark Dever

Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks ( Dever has authored over a dozen books and speaks at conferences nationwide. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Connie, and they have two adult children.

Product Details

Category: Church Ministry
Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket
Page Count: 320
Size: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 19.77 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7811-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7811-3
ISBN-UPC: 9781433578113
Case Quantity: 28
Published: November 09, 2021

Table of Contents

Foreword by H. B. Charles Jr.
Preface to the Fourth Edition (2020)
Preface to the Third Edition (2013)
Preface to the [2nd] “New Expanded Edition” (2004)

Chapter 1: Expositional Preaching
Chapter 2: Gospel Doctrine
Chapter 3: A Biblical Understanding of Conversion and Evangelism
Chapter 4: A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership
Chapter 5: Biblical Church Discipline
Chapter 6: A Biblical Concern for Discipleship and Growth
Chapter 7: Biblical Church Leadership
Chapter 8: A Biblical Understanding and Practice of Prayer
Chapter 9: A Biblical Understanding and Practice of Missions

Appendix 1: Tips for Leading the Church in a Healthy Direction
Appendix 2: “Don’t Do It!” Why You Shouldn’t Practice Church Discipline
Appendix 3: The Original 9 Marks Letter


“I cannot say enough about how Nine Marks of a Healthy Church was used to shape my personal understanding of the biblical church and the local church I was planting when I first read the second edition of the book. Amidst so many controversial ideas and methods presented to church planters by church-planting best sellers, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church simply brought me back to Scripture, centered my heart on what a biblical church must be and do, and also relieved me from the perspective that I had to shape the congregation before me Sunday after Sunday. Don’t misunderstand me; I knew all these marks before, but they were not appropriately connected and applied. In practice, the use of these nine marks were tainted with foreign ideas and a lack of intentionality that prevented them from bearing the right fruits. I am glad for Dever’s reshaping of the content to consider two other marks that are also neglected in the contemporary church: prayer and missions. The book still has nine marks. If you are wondering how, you will have to read it! Do not hesitate!”
Mauro Meister, President, Andrew Jumper Graduate Center, Brazil; Senior Pastor, Presbyterian Church Barra Funda; author, Law and Grace and The Origin of Idolatry

“From my early days as a football coach, my football mentor instilled in me a sense of urgency to be clear on what we were looking for as we set out to build championship teams. All championship teams own distinctive marks that we look to reproduce year after year. In my formative days as a pastor, Mark Dever has helped me gain biblical clarity on what a healthy local church looks like through Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. As leaders of our local churches, it is critical that we are clear on how Christ is building his church so that we can faithfully come alongside him in his work.”
Rocky Seto, Senior Pastor, Evergreen Baptist Church of San Gabriel Valley

“Here are the timeless biblical truths that inform what the church is, how God creates and nurtures it, and how its pastors and members participate in that work. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church has helped me as a young pastor see through the fog of church growth models to the essential architecture of ecclesiology. This book is far and away the clearest and most biblical account of what the church is that I’ve come across. Most importantly, the vision of the church displayed here is so God-centered that it places the magnificent responsibility of sustaining and leading it back on the right shoulders, namely, his.”
Samuel D. Ferguson, Rector, The Falls Church Anglican, Metro Washington, DC

“I was an ambitious Capitol Hill staffer when I was first handed this book twenty years ago. In retrospect, it was this moment that totally upended my estimation of the local church and changed the trajectory of my life toward ministry in it. The personal ambitions I had been aiming for began to seem insignificant compared to the growing desire for God’s glory to be displayed through the local church. After now a decade of cross-cultural ministry in the Arab world, my understanding of a healthy church is continually shaped and sharpened by the principles of this book. Reader beware: this book could totally transform the way you see the seemingly ordinary local church.”
Jenny Manley, pastor’s wife, United Arab Emirates; author, The Good Portion: Christ

“My first conversation with Mark Dever was a memorable one. I’d asked why I should consider doing the pastoral internship program at his church. Mark’s reply: ‘Because too many pastors simply don’t know about the church.’ The statement struck me then and has stuck with me since—pastors of churches not knowing enough about the churches they pastor. But far from only harping on the problem, Mark has given his life to helping with the solution. How? With books like this one, pointing pastors and church members alike back to the Bible to recover a right understanding and practice of some of the most basic yet life-giving marks of a church. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is not merely a manual for how to do church but a methodology of how to think about the church. Throughout its pages, the Bible is actually used, showing its authority and sufficiency, not simply talked about. The gospel is clearly communicated and celebrated, not simply assumed. Diverse voices from the past are consulted—whether African-American pastor Francis Grimke on preaching or African-Jamaican pastor Moses Hall on prayer—to instruct our practices in the present. And a pastoral heart is put on display, showing a love for God and his glory, and a love for God’s people and their growth. Reading this book may not immediately change your church, but it might change you, causing you to more carefully, thoughtfully, and biblically consider how the Lord might use your faithfulness as a minister or a member to contribute to the greater health of your local church.”
Omar Johnson, Pastor, Temple Hills Baptist Church, Temple Hills, MD

“The nine marks are as relevant and important for today’s church as they’ve ever been. Whereas a combination of pragmatism, tradition, and cultural influences shape so much of modern Christianity, Dever refreshingly points us back to the foundational truths of the Bible that ought to drive all of our practices in the church. While the nine marks are so straightforwardly Scriptural that no faithful reader of the Bible could deny their significance, to actually implement them in our churches is to swim against the cultural current. To that end, this book is an invaluable resource for any pastor or congregant who desires to see God’s glory more clearly manifest through Christ-centered, gospel-preaching, biblically sound churches.”
Harry Fujiwara, Pastor, The First Baptist Church in the City of New York

“It is astonishing that the apostle Paul describes the local gathering of Christians as ‘the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood’ (Acts 20:28). That raises the stakes of church life and health and mission about as high as it can be. We are dealing with a blood-bought body of people. I do not want human ideas. I want God’s word about the church. I turn with hope and confidence to Mark Dever’s radically biblical commitment. Few people today have thought more or better about what makes a church biblical and healthy. I thank God for the book and for 9Marks ministries.”
John Piper, Founder and Teacher,; Chancellor, Bethlehem College & Seminary; author, Desiring God

“The future of biblical Christianity in the Western world is inextricably bound to the future of the local church. Mark Dever knows this, and his Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is a biblical prescription for faithfulness.”
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary