In Volume 18 of Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae commentary series the author analyzes Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy. A quick glance at the table of contents is all it takes to realize that Simeon has skillfully divided these Epistles into manageable, coherent sections. Although this volume was written over 150 years ago, Simeon's work applies today more than ever.
These expository outlines (or "skeletons") are not a verse-by-verse explanation of the English Bible. Rather, they are a chapter-by-chapter study with explanations of the most important and instructive verses in each chapter. Simeon's aim with this commentary is "Instruction relative to the Composition of Sermons." To this end, his exposition of the Scriptures is designed to maintain a focus on the more general aspects of a passage over and above possible treatments of particulars. His test for a sermon, as he teaches in Horae Homileticae, is threefold: does it humble the sinner, exalt the Saviour and promote holiness?
Opposing all human systems of divinity, Simeon's commentary is also marked by an avoidance of any possible systemization of God's Word and entanglement with theological controversies. A self-described "moderate Calvinist" or, more plainly, a "Biblical Christian," Simeon believed that the Bible should speak for itself. "Be Bible Christians, not systems Christians" was his maxim; "My endeavor is to bring out of Scripture what is there, and not to thrust in what I think might be there. I have a great jealousy on this head; never to speak more or less than I believe to be the mind of the Spirit in the passage I am expounding." With Horae Homileticae this conviction is soundly applied.
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[Horae Homileticae] is the best place to go for researching Simeon's theology. You can find his views on almost every key text in the Bible … What Simeon experienced in the word was remarkable. And it is so utterly different from the counsel that we receive today that it is worth looking at …
If Wilberforce is the most famous evangelical layman in the Church of England, then Simeon is the most famous evangelical clergyman.
—Who's Who in Christian History
[The volumes of Horae Homileticae] have been called 'a valley of dry bones': be a prophet and they will live.