Jonathan Edwards on the Primacy of Preaching


In his famous treatise on the Religious Affections Jonathan Edwards notes the primacy of preaching over good commentaries and books to change the hearts and affections of those who hear the Word.

“And the impressing divine things on the hearts and affections of men is evidently one great and main end for which God has ordained that His Word delivered in the holy Scriptures should be opened, applied, and set home upon men, in preaching. And therefore it does not answer the aim which God had in this institution, merely to have good commentaries and expositions on the Scripture, and other good books of divinity; because, although these may tend as well as preaching to give men a good doctrinal or speculative understanding of the things of the Word of God, yet they have not an equal tendency to impress them on men’s hearts and affections. God hath appointed a particular and lively application of His Word to men in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of the things of religion, and their own misery and necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; and to stir up the pure minds of the saints, and quicken their affections, by often bringing the great things of religion to their remembrance, and setting them before them in their proper colours, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already.”

Religious Affections, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, edited by John E. Smith, vol. 2 (Yale University Press, 1959), 115-116.

By |March 31st, 2014|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

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