Perkins on Preaching

Perkins ProphesyingOne of the first books written in the English language on preaching is  ‘The Art of Prophesying” by William Perkins (1606).  This book, though written over 400 years ago, is incredibly relevant and profitable today for all who are called to the task of proclaiming God’s word-which is what Perkins means by the phrase ‘prophesying’ here.

Sometimes I have a hard time getting my head around the task of preaching. What should I say and how should I say it?  Perkins summary about the task is instructive.  Basically, preaching involves four things:

1. Reading the text clearly from the canonical Scriptures

2. Explaining the meaning of it, once it has been read, in the light of the Scriptures themselves

3. Gathering a few profitable points of doctrine from the natural sense of the passage

4. If the preacher is suitably gifted, applying the doctrines thus explained to the life and practice of the congregation in straightforward, plain speech (p. 75).

Read the text, explain it, show the doctrines gathered from the text, and give the implications for the hearers.  This is the task of preaching.

2 Comments

  1. Ryan Fishel said:

    What a relief it is too! I don’t know how many times I’ve felt the consolations of remembering–being so concerned with the message to honour God faithfully and ministering to His people well (and, truth be told, not sound like a complete idiot)–remembering that “all Scripture is breathed out… for training in righteousness.” Which seems to include *the way* to is laid out so well for teachers and preachers, having everything we need right there in the content *and* the structure of the Scriptures.

    April 1, 2013
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  2. Tom Schmidt said:

    Ryan, Thanks for the comment brother! Yes,it is such a relief. Especially as a younger preacher, these words provide very helpful guidance. This whole book is packed with precious insights into the task of preaching and ministry, I think you would really dig it.

    April 2, 2013
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