The Four Pages of the Sermon

A Guide to Biblical Preaching

By Paul Scott Wilson Published
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Doing justice to the complexity of the preaching task and the questions that underlie it, Wilson organizes both the preparation and the content of the sermon around its "four pages."  Each "page" addresses a different theological and creative component of what happens in any sermon. Page One presents the trouble or conflict that takes place in or that underscores the biblical text itself.  Page Two looks at similar conflict--sin or brokenness--in our own time.  Page Three returns to the Bible to identify where God is at work in or behind the text--in other words, to discover the good news.  Page Four points to God at work in our world, particularly in relation to the situations described in Page Two.


This is an insightful, practical, helpful, and worthwhile book. Nearly everything it does, it does well. It is what it does not do that gives pause. The book does not take up any of the thornier challenges of biblical authority. For a book subtitled "A Guide to Biblical Preaching," it fails to address exactly what biblical preaching is. Instead, it is left to the reader to surmise that biblical preaching is founded on a structural similarity between the problems of biblical times and our own and the good news of God in biblical times and ours. Why biblical times and texts are privileged is not meaningfully discussed; it is presumed that they rightly are. Although troubled churches can be helped by improved preaching, it may be that greater clarity is also needed about why these texts and why this structure.
--David M. Greenhaw, Eden Theological Seminary
The Princeton Seminary Bulletin
September 2000 Issue

Paul Scott Wilson's "four page" method of Biblical preaching is both simple and profound. Wilson believes that a sermon on a Bible passage should consist of four "pages." The word "page" is not to be taken literally. It stands for a theological orientation. What a change might come upon the churches if Wilson's words were taken to heart by those whose calling is to preach the gospel! One might even expect more than just change; perhaps the preaching advocated by Wilson could lead to a revival or even a reformation.
--Dennis Campbell
Irish Biblical Studies
October 2000 Issue

About the Author

Paul Scott Wilson

Paul Scott Wilson is Professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College of the University of Toronto. He is one of the most respected and recognized teachers of homiletics in North America. He is the author of a number of books, including The Practice of Preaching, Imagination of the Heart, God Sense: Reading the Bible for Preaching, and The Four Pages of the Sermon, all published by Abingdon Press. He is the General Editor of The New Interpreter's Handbook of Preaching.