Simplicity in Preaching
‘What do you recommend on preaching?’ is a frequently asked question that can be answered in a variety of ways. There is always much to learn and there are many books to help us. But whatever else a preacher reads, J.C. Ryle’s little masterpiece Simplicity in Preaching is a ‘must read’.
“Ryle packs more experience and sanctified common sense into two dozen pages than many others manage in a lengthy treatise. And, like all of his work, this one illustrates the very simplicity he commends to others. Here indeed is a work whose value and usefulness is out of all proportion to its length.” — Sinclair B. Ferguson, Minister at St. Peter’s Free Church, Dundee, Scotland
About the Author
John Charles (J.C.) Ryle (1816-1900) once admitted that, as a young man, he thought that being a Christian was about the most unpleasant possible thought that could come to his mind. But one day in 1837, he was providentially in a church where he heard the Scripture read out loud: “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8). His life was transformed, and by 1841, the Church of England ordained him a minister of the gospel.
In 1880, at 64 years old, after serving 39 years in the ministry, Ryle became the first Bishop of Liverpool, a post he held for 20 years. He was affectionately known as “the working man’s bishop.” Ryle was firm in his theological convictions, never suffering from what he called a “boneless, nerveless, jellyfish condition of soul.” His successor described him as a “man of granite”, and Charles Spurgeon called Ryle, his contemporary, an “evangelical champion.” Ryle passed into heaven in the year 1900.
Today, more than a hundred years after his death, Ryle’s works remain some of the Christian church’s most cherished treasures.