One 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.