Charles Simeon was one of the most prominent evangelical clergymen in the Church of England in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. He was known both for his passion for mission and his extraordinary biblical preaching. But when Simeon looked at the clergy around him he saw men who were often unable to preach well. They either preached poor sermons or they parroted the sermons published by others. Simeon’s passion for preaching drove him to collect and publish his own sermons, preached from Genesis to Revelation and spanning fifty-four years of ministry. But he didn’t simply publish manuscripts or transcripts of his sermons. Simeon wanted a tool that would both encourage good preaching and that would train good preachers by giving them the skills they needed. To that end, Simeon published what he calls “skeletons” rather than full sermon texts. He begins by laying out the main points or divisions of the biblical text, which he then shows the preacher how to flesh out and expand. He includes copious biblical cross-references as well as excellent aids to practical application. His method is best seen in his use of three dashes (“— — —”) found throughout the text. This is Simeon’s way of saying, “I’ve walked you through the text, I’ve pointed you in the right direction, now you flesh it out in your own words.” This isn’t just an expositional commentary, it’s a teaching tool. It’s a goldmine for experienced preachers, but it’s also an excellent aid for inexperienced preachers who might still need someone to walk them through a biblical text and help them expound upon it.
Volumes I and XXI are of special note. The first volume contains Simeon’s introductory essay, which is often quoted and referred to in other books on preaching. (That was how I was originally introduced to Simeon.) While it’s short, it’s also inspiring, explains Simeon’s homiletic rationale, and serves as a sort of “user’s guide” to the whole series. The final volume includes copious indexes, including Scripture, Subject, and Liturgical/Lectionary indexes, as well as Simeon’s “improved” version of Jean Claude’s excellent essay on sermon composition. Simeon even includes several of his own skeletons to illustrate Claude’s instructions.
Special Note: While I would dearly love to re-typeset these volumes as I have some of the other publications here, I simply don’t have the time for such a monumental task. For that reason I’ve produced these books from digitals scans of the 1832/1833 final edition. The pages in the original are now quite dark and badly mottled. To get clean scans the contrast had to be set lower than the ideal. While the text is entirely readable, it is not as dark or as crisp as it might otherwise be. You can view a sample of the text here. Printing the sample on a quality laser printed should approximate what you’ll find in the books.
Volume I: Genesis to Leviticus (Hardcover $30, Paperback $21, 723 pages)
Volume II: Numbers to Joshua (Hardcover $29, Paperback $19, 635 pages)
Volume III: Judges to 2 Kings (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 574 pages)
Volume IV: 1 Chronicles to Job (Hardcover $26, Paperback $17, 520 pages)
Volume V: Psalms 1-72 (Hardcover $27, Paperback $18, 556 pages)
Volume VI: Psalms 73-150 (Hardcover $27, Paperback $17, 537 pages)
Volume VII: Proverbs to Isaiah 26 (Hardcover $29, Paperback $19, 640 pages)
Volume VIII: Isaiah 27-66 (Hardcover $29, Paperback $20, 662 pages)
Volume IX: Jeremiah to Daniel (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 579 pages)
Volume X: Hosea to Malachi (Hardcover $29, Paperback $19, 639 pages)
Volume XI: Matthew (Hardcover $29, Paperback $19, 628 pages)
Volume XII: Mark to Luke 16 (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 576 pages)
Volume XIII: Luke 17 to John 12 (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 583 pages)
Volume XIV: John 13 to Acts (Hardcover $29, Paperback $19, 612 pages)
Volume XV: Romans (Hardcover $29, Paperback $19, 608 pages)
Volume XVI: 1 & 2 Corinthians (Hardcover $29, Paperback $20, 652 pages)
Volume XVII: Galatians & Ephesians (Hardcover $27, Paperback $17, 527 pages)
Volume XVIII: Philippians to 1 Timothy (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 560 pages)
Volume XIX: 2 Timothy to Hebrews (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 562 pages)
Volume XX: James to Jude (Hardcover $28, Paperback $18, 582 pages)
Volume XXI: Revelation; Claude’s essay on Sermon Composition, Indexes (Hardcover$28, Paperback $18, 587 pages)