The first style of preaching talked about in the Patterns of Preaching book is the Puritan Plain Style. Allen notes: “As the term ‘plain’ implies, this approach is simple to the point.”

Six Sections

There are six sections in the structure of this style of sermon

  1. Beginning – In this section the preacher gives the congregation the focus of the sermon. This includes a Statement of the Direction of the Sermon which gives the basic claim of the sermon in one short sentence.
  2. Exposition – The preacher exegetes the text, doctrine, or topic.
  3. Theological Analysis – The preacher looks at the text theologically.
  4. Applying the Interpretation – What are the implications of this sermon to the community?
  5. Conclusion – Help the congregation continue the conversation started by the sermon.

The Puritan Plain style is a more deductive and didactic method. If you want to teach a particular doctrine or text, this one can be helpful. You tell people the doctrine or text, you define it with a look towards scripture and theology. You then apply it to the lives of the congregation.

To do this method would force you to at least look exegetically and theologically at your topic or text which should be done by all preachers no matter what structure they follow.


However, one must be careful that sermons following this structure do not fall into the trap of being merely a lecture.
Another trap that a preacher could fall into is to become very predictable and boring. These sections can be mixed up, moved around, and placed in such a way that the preacher would not become boring.


In any case, if you are wanting to help your people understand the implications of particularly a doctrine, then this style is perfectly suited for that. A series of messages on a particular Bible book also might make great use of this structure.

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