Manual Simplicity in Preaching

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Feb 20, Dean rated it it was amazing. Practices what he preaches, literally. Very succinct and readable. Nov 08, Seth Mcdevitt rated it it was amazing. Required reading for anyone who enters the pulpit. May god hold me to it, and may he cause me to do more good for souls by it. Nov 24, Josh Woodward rated it it was amazing. So concise and clear it could and probably should be read each time by every person that graces a church's pulpit.

Simple and clear admonitiotion to be simple and clear Brief, simple, and clear is Ryle's way and this short admonition is a perfect model of that very same theme. Feb 23, Kent rated it really liked it Shelves: Know your subject thoroughly. Use "I" and "you" instead of "we. Use plenty of illustrations. May 26, Dan Glover rated it it was amazing. I preach on a regular basis and have made it a practice to try to read or re-read a good book on preaching or sermon prep or a collection of good sermons at least once a year. This little booklet has been on my list for a long time and I finally read it.

I would like to apply what the Greeks used to say about great orators to this slim volume, paraphrased a bit: As the title suggests, these words of wisdom are all about keeping one's sermons s I preach on a regular basis and have made it a practice to try to read or re-read a good book on preaching or sermon prep or a collection of good sermons at least once a year. As the title suggests, these words of wisdom are all about keeping one's sermons simple. This has manifold benefits, most of which center around ensuring that God's Word is communicated clearly and in a manner which can be understood by all one's hearers.

Here are a few tastes of Ryle's seasoned wisdom: But our calling is to proclaim the gospel to all the world and to preach the whole counsel of God to Christ's church. If our goal on both counts is to see people repent and believe and lives changed, and that is our goal, then we should take Bishop Ryle's sage advice to heart. After all, "the most powerful and forcible words, as a rule, are very short. Feb 19, Aaron rated it really liked it Shelves: I stumbled upon this book while reading Saving Eutychus.

The authors recommended the book and said that it was one of the best on the topic. What I discovered was a small, 24 page treasure chest of wisdom from one of the great preachers of the 19th century. He draws from a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. The basic premise is if we want to effect change in hearts then we must keep the delivery, the words, a I stumbled upon this book while reading Saving Eutychus.

The basic premise is if we want to effect change in hearts then we must keep the delivery, the words, and the structure of the sermon simple. He urges preachers to save the fine words for Oxford and Cambridge but while speaking to ordinary people, use ordinary language. To be honest, this concept is a bit new to me. I have never given any thought as to whether I use simplistic or complicated, common or uncommon, modern or outdated words.

However, I am now deeply aware that this is something that I must understand. I would recommend this booklet to anyone who speaks in front of people and would certainly recommend it to anyone who regularly delivers sermons. There is much to learn on this subject and I am investing a good part of doing just that. Jan 08, Paul rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This short booklet of 20 pages is an excerpt from Ryle's book, The Upper Room. Ryle lays out his philosophy of preaching, urging preachers and would-be preachers to use simplicity.

He opens with 4 prefatory remarks: He then goes into 5 hints on the best method of attaining simplicity in preaching: Jun 03, John Richards rated it it was amazing. Such a great short book on Preaching. Ryle packs a ton of good stuff in 22 pages.

Simplicity in Preaching

I found myself highlighting nearly the entire book. Here's the passage that will stick with me near the end after he gives five hints on the simplicity of preaching: If Christ crucified has not his rightful place in your sermons, and sin is not exposed as it shoul Such a great short book on Preaching. If Christ crucified has not his rightful place in your sermons, and sin is not exposed as it should be, and your people are not plainly told what they ought to believe, to be, and do, your preaching is of no use.

I'd recommend this for anyone who preaches God's Word. May 31, Terry Hoskins rated it really liked it Shelves: Simplicity in Preaching is the art of learning how to preach with clarity!

Ryle writes with simplicity as he guides pastors how to craft sermons with simplicity! He explains there are other important aspects of a sermon, but his focus in this booklet is to help pastors speak with clarity, with precision, with simplicity to their congregation. This little booklet will only take about 20 minutes, but the small investment is worth it as J.

Ryle shares a wealth of knowledge and insight to Pas Simplicity in Preaching is the art of learning how to preach with clarity! Ryle shares a wealth of knowledge and insight to Pastors with his 45 years of experience! Sep 08, Mark A Powell rated it it was amazing.

Simplicity in preaching, a few short hints

He is careful to say that while preaching should be simple, it should not be simplistic. Instead, the point of good preaching is to be Christ-centered and profound, but equally understood by those who hear it. Jun 02, Peter N. A short, but excellent little book on how to preach simple sermons. There is a lot of wisdom in Ryle's suggestions. What I like most his desire for the congregation to understand and grow.

He knows that ornate sermons may impress the listener, but they will not help them grow in sanctification. A good book for preachers to read every couple of years or so. May 13, Laura marked it as to-read. I'm posting my friend Vic's recommendation here, in case anyone in my friend list might be interested in reading this - "Fantastic. In any case, beware of long words. Gee, in his excellent book, 'Our Sermons', very ably points out the uselessness of using long words and expressions not in common use. For example, he says, "Talk of happiness rather than of felicity; talk of almighty rather than omnipotent; forbidden rather than proscribed; hateful rather than noxious; afterwards rather than subsequently; call out and draw forth instead of evoke and educe.

It is very well to use fine words at Oxford and Cambridge, before classical hearers, and in preaching before educated audiences. But depend upon it, when you preach to ordinary congregations, the sooner you throw overboard this sort of English, and use plain common words, the better.

One thing, at all events, is quite certain, without simple words you will never attain simplicity in preaching. I will try to illustrate what I mean. If you take up the sermons preached by that great and wonderful man Dr.

See a Problem?

Chalmers, you can hardly fail to see what an enormous number of lines you meet with without coming to a full stop. This I regard as a great mistake. It may suit Scotland, but it will never do for England. If you would attain a simple style of composition, beware of writing many lines without coming to a pause, and so allowing the minds of your hearers to take breath.

Beware of colons and semicolons. Stick to commas and full stops, and take care to write as if you were asthmatical or short of breath. Never write or speak very long sentences or long paragraphs. Use stops frequently, and start again—and the oftener you do this, the more likely you are to attain a simple style of composition. Enormous sentences full of colons, semicolons, and parentheses, with paragraphs of two or three pages' length, are utterly fatal to simplicity. We should bear in mind that preachers have to do with hearers and not readers, and that what will "read" well will not always "speak" well.

A reader of English can always help himself by looking back a few lines and refreshing his mind. A hearer of English hears once for all, and if he loses the thread of your sermon in a long involved sentence, he very likely never finds it again. Again, simplicity in your style of composition depends very much upon the proper use of proverbs and pointed sentences. This is of vast importance. There are some good sayings of this sort in a book not known so well as it should be, called 'Papers on Preaching'. Take a few examples of what I mean: Proverbial, pointed, and antithetical sayings of this kind give wonderful perspicuousness and force to a sermon.

Labor to store your minds with them. Use them judiciously, and especially at the end of paragraphs, and you will find them an immense help to the attainment of a simple style of composition. But of long, involved, complicated sentences—always beware! The fourth hint I will give is this: What do I mean by this? I mean the practice and custom of saying "I" and "you. The result is that many preachers are never direct—and always think it very humble and modest and becoming to say "we.

I declare I never can understand what the famous pulpit "we" means. Does the preacher who all through his sermon keeps saying "we" mean himself and the bishop? If he only means himself, what earthly reason can he give for using the plural number, and not saying simply and plainly "I"? When he visits his parishioners, or sits by a sick-bed, or catechises his school, or orders bread at the baker's, or meat at the butcher's—he does not say "we," but "I. What right has he, as a modest man, to speak for anyone but himself? Why not stand up on Sunday and say, "Reading in the Word of God, I have found a text containing such things as these, and I come to set them before you"?

Many people, I am sure, do not understand what the preacher's "we" means. The expression leaves them in a kind of fog. If you say, " I , the pastor of the parish, come here to talk of something that concerns your soul, something you should believe, something you should do"—you are at any rate understood. But if you begin to talk in the vague plural number of what" we" ought to do, many of your hearers do not know what you are driving at, and whether you are speaking to yourself or them.

I charge and entreat my younger brethren in the ministry not to forget this point. Do try to be as direct as possible. Never mind what people say of you. In this particular do not imitate Chalmers, or Melville, or certain other living pulpit celebrities. Never say "we" when you mean "I. The glory of Whitefield's sermons is their directness. But unhappily they were so badly reported, that we cannot now appreciate them. The fifth and last hint I wish to give you is this: If you would attain simplicity in preaching, you must use plenty of anecdotes and illustrations.

You must regard illustrations as windows through which light is let in upon your subject. Upon this point a great deal might be said, but the limits of a small treatise oblige me to touch it very briefly. I need hardly remind you of the example of Him who "spoke as never any man spoke"—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Study the four Gospels attentively, and mark what a wealth of illustrations His sermons generally contain.

How often you find figure upon figure, parable upon parable, in His discourses! There was nothing under His eyes apparently from which He did not draw lessons. The birds of the air, and the fish in the sea, the sheep, the goats, the cornfield, the vineyard, the ploughman, the sower, the reaper, the fisherman, the shepherd, the vinedresser, the woman kneading meal, the flowers, the grass, the bank, the wedding feast, the sepulcher—all were made vehicles for conveying thoughts to the minds of hearers. What are such parables as the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the ten virgins, the king who made a marriage for his son, the rich man and Lazarus, the laborers of the vineyard, and others—what are all these but stirring stories that our Lord tells in order to convey some great truth to the souls of His hearers?

Try to walk in His footsteps and follow His example. If you pause in your sermon, and say, "Now I will tell you a story"—I pledge that all who are not too fast asleep will pick up their ears and listen. People like similes, illustrations, and well-told stories—and will listen to them when they will attend to nothing else. And from what countless sources we can get illustrations! Take all the book of nature around us. Look at the sky above and the world beneath. Look at all the branches of science , at geology, at botany, at chemistry, at astronomy.

Simplicity in Preaching by J.C. Ryle

What is there in heaven above or earth below from which you may not bring illustrations to throw light on the message of the gospel? Read Bishop Latimer's sermons, the most popular, perhaps, that were ever preached. Read the works of Brooks, and Watson, and Swinnock, the Puritans. How full they are of illustrations, figures, metaphors, and stories! What is one secret of his popularity?

He fills his sermons with pleasing stories. He is the best speaker , says an Arabian proverb, who can turn the ear into an eye! For my part, I not only try to tell stories, but in country parishes I have sometimes put before people familiar illustrations which they can see. For instance—Do I want to show them that there must have been a first great cause or Being who made this world? I have sometimes taken out my watch, and have said, "Look at this watch.

How well it is made! Do any of you suppose for a moment that all the screws, all the wheels, all the pins of that watch came together by accident? Would not any one say there must have been a watchmaker? And if so, it follows most surely that there must have been a Maker of the world, whose handiwork we see engraved on the face of every one of those glorious planets going their yearly rounds and keeping time to a single second.

Look at the world in which you live, and the wonderful things which it contains. Will you tell me that there is no God, and that creation is the result of chance? The whole congregation, when they hear the keys, look up. Then I say, "Would there be need of any keys if all men were perfect and honest? What does this bunch of keys show? Why, they show that the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Lay yourselves out for it.

Pick up illustrations wherever you can. Keep your eyes open, and use them well. Happy is that preacher who has an eye for similitudes , and a memory stored with well-chosen stories and illustrations. If he is a real man of God, and knows how to deliver a sermon, he will never preach to bare walls and empty benches. But I must add a word of caution. There is a proper way of telling stories. If a man cannot tell stories naturally—he had better not tell them at all.

Illustration, again, after all I have said in its favor, may be carried too far. I remember a notable instance of this in the case of the great Welsh preacher, Christmas Evans. There is in print a sermon of his about the wonderful miracle that took place in Gadara, when devils took possession of the swine, and the whole herd ran down violently into the sea. He paints it so minutely that it really becomes ludicrous by reason of the words put in the mouth of the swine-herders who told their master of the loss he had sustained.

What did he do? Guthrie's admirable sermons are occasionally so overlaid with illustrations as to remind one of cake made almost entirely of plums and containing hardly any flour. Put plenty of color and picture into your sermon by all means. Draw sweetness and light from all sources and from all creatures—from the heavens and the earth, from history, from science. But after all there is a limit. You must be careful how you use color—lest you do as much harm as good.

Do not put on color by spoonfuls , but with a brush. This caution remembered, you will find color an immense aid in the attainment of simplicity and perspicuousness in preaching. If you want to attain simplicity in preaching, you must have a clear knowledge of what you are going to preach. If you would attain simplicity in preaching, you must use simple words. If you would attain simplicity in preaching, you must seek to acquire a simple style of composition , with short sentences and as few colons and semicolons as possible.

If you would attain simplicity in preaching, make abundant use of illustration and anecdote. You will never attain simplicity in preaching without plenty of work —pains and trouble, I say emphatically, pains and trouble. When Turner, the great painter, was asked by some one how it was he mixed his colors so well, and what it was that made them so different from those of other artists—"Mix them? Why, with brains, sir. I have heard that a young and careless clergyman once said to Richard Cecil, "I think I need more faith.

You need more pains. You must not think that God will do work for you—though He is ready to do it by you. I beg them to make time for their composition of sermons, to take trouble and to exercise their brains by reading. Only mind that you read what is useful. I would not have you spend your time in reading the early church Fathers in order to help your preaching. They are very useful in their way, but there are many things more useful in modern writers, if you choose them discreetly. Read good models, and become familiar with good specimens of simplicity in preaching.

As your best model, take the English Bible. If you speak the language in which that is written, you will speak well. Read John Bunyan's immortal work, the Pilgrim's progress. Read it again and again, if you wish to attain simplicity in preaching. Do not be above reading the Puritans. Some of them no doubt are heavy. Goodwin and Owen are very heavy, though excellent artillery in position. They are, to my mind, models of the best simple English spoken in old times. Remember, however, that language alters with years.

The Simplicity of Preaching

They spoke English, and so do we, but their style was different from ours. Read beside them the best models of modern English that you can get at. I believe the best English writer for the last hundred years was William Cobbett, the political Radical. I think he wrote the finest simple Saxon-English the world has ever seen. Among old political orators, the speeches of Lord Chatham and Patrick Henry, the American, are models of good English.

Last, but not least, never forget that, next to the Bible, there is nothing in the English language which, for combined simplicity, perspicuousness, eloquence, and power, can be compared with some of the great speeches in Shakespeare. Models of this sort must really be studied, and studied "with brains," too, if you wish to attain a good style of composition in preaching.

On the other hand, do not be above talking to the poor, and visiting your people from house to house. Sit down with your people by the fireside, and exchange thoughts with them on all subjects. Find out how they think and how they express themselves, if you want them to understand your sermons. By so doing you will insensibly learn much. You will be continually picking up modes of thought, and get notions as to what you should say in your pulpit. A humble country clergyman was once asked "whether he studied the fathers.

But he studied the mothers more, because he often found them at home—and he could talk to them.