Sermon Topics -- By: John Ackworth

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 101:401 (Jan 1944)
Article: Sermon Topics
Author: John Ackworth


Sermon Topics

John Ackworth1

It is worth noting as an evidence of its fitness to be the Universal Book, that Spurgeon was able to draw materials for some two thousand sermons from every part of the sacred volume. Every book in the Bible, with the single exception of 2 John, supplied him with texts. We have heard it complained that several of the books of Scripture are practically useless for sermonizing purposes. The preacher of the Tabernacle-largest ordinary congregation in London, if not in the world-has evidently found no such difficulty, judging from his printed messages. And if hard-pressed ministers in search of topics will glance at a list of his texts, they will find matter for reflection and perhaps even for self-examination.

At the first glance it would appear as though Mr. Spurgeon had with royal impartiality treated all the Books of Scripture alike, the number of texts selected from any one book being regulated solely by the size of the book. A closer examination, however, shows that that is not so, for whilst the ten chapters of Ezra produce only one sermon, the three of 2 Peter provide ten.

It might have been expected that Mr. Spurgeon’s taste for terse epigrammatic phraseology would have drawn him frequently to the Book of Proverbs, but whilst the thirty-one chapters of that book have only given one text per chapter, the Song of Solomon in eight short chapters has given thirty-seven topics; in fact that book, which preachers as a rule touch so gingerly, seems, for its length, to be one of Mr. Spurgeon’s favorites; no other book in the Old Testament receiving anything like so much attention. Similarly the congregation of the Tabernacle have not been troubled much with the stern problems raised in Ecclesiastes, but Job has suggested no less than fifty-seven discourses. And again,

Galatians, with six chapters, provides nearly twice as many texts as the five chapters in James.

Only twice during his public ministery does Mr. Spurgeon appear to have discussed the absorbing incidents of the book of Esther; and that matchless Bible idyll the book of Ruth, with its sorely needed teachings on domestic faithfulness and piety, has not been too frequently handled by the great preacher.

The modern distaste for “types and shadows” is evidently not shared by Mr. Spurgeon, the book of Leviticus having furnished the basis of twelve sermons, many of which belong to his later ministry, whilst the Epistle to the Hebrews has supplied no less than eighty-five texts.

In the Gospels, John is as popular with the metropolitan pastor as with most other preachers, an...

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