The Depth of Theological Simplicity

I have often admired the simplicity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wisest man who every lived (who was Himself the Divine wisdom of God) often exhibited the most profundity in the simplicity with which He taught. For instance, Jesus, while teaching about how much God cares for His people said, “Consider the lilies.” When teaching about the Kingdom of God He said, “Look at the mustard seed.” And while calling men to come to Him, He said, “Whoever is thirsty let him come to Me and drink.” When men tried to catch Him in His words, He taught with theological depth about the rightful dominion of God over man, who is made in the image of God when He said, “Bring Me a coin. Whose image and inscription is on it. Therefore give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God’s.” There was a profound depth in the simple sayings of our Lord and there was an all-encompassing simplicity to Jesus’ words.

This should characterize our preaching and writing as well. Of course there is the biblical truth that many will not understand even when our words are simple. This is evidenced by our Lord’s parables. When asked why He spoke in parables our Lord said, “So that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear…He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts…so that they may not turn and be healed.” It is ultimately not the simplicity of our words that make the divine revelation understandable. As Jesus told Peter, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My Father who is in heaven. We do not want to come to a place where we think people will understand because of simplicity of speech, nevertheless, we should not try to be as wordy and unintelligible as we can be for those to whom it is given to believe.

For all aspiring preachers, J. C. Ryles’ chapter “Simplicity in Preaching“(chapter 3 in his book The Upper Room) would be a good place to begin the quest for this kind of preaching.

Leave a Reply