Preaching simply is anything but simple. Far easier – for someone prone to complication like myself – to feed our flock with the incomprehensible and indigestible!
In his brief work “Simplicity in preaching”, the former Bishop of Liverpool provides wise counsel to the novice-preacher in need of clarity. I return to this guidance often (even the outline below is profitable to read). Ryle’s full explanation is better still. It is found online here, or is available to purchase in book form.
JC Ryle – Simplicity in Preaching
Four prefatory remarks
1. To attain simplicity in preaching is of the utmost importance to every minister who wishes to be useful to souls.
2. To attain simplicity in preaching is by no means an easy matter.
3. I would not have my readers suppose I mean childish preaching.
4. It is not coarse or vulgar preaching that is needed
Five hints to attain simplicity in preaching
1. Take care that you have a clear view of the subject upon which you are going to preach.
2. Try to use in all your sermons, as far as you can—simple WORDS.
3. Take care to aim at a SIMPLE style of composition.
4. If you wish to preach simply—use a DIRECT style.
5. Use plenty of anecdotes and illustrations.
1. Preach sermons that which will do lasting good to souls!
2. All the simplicity in the world can do no good, unless you preach the simple gospel of Jesus Christ so fully and clearly that everybody can understand it.
3. All the simplicity in the world, again, is useless without a good lively delivery.
4. Let us never forget that all the simplicity in the world is useless without prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the grant of God’s blessing, and a life corresponding in some measure to what we preach.