This paper is concerned with showing the biblical, pedagogical principles Jonathan Edwards was instructed in and utilized in advancing theology through sermons in light of his perception of his audience’s biblical literacy, as evidenced by the format and delivery of his sermons that changed due to the transition in the audience of his sermons (from a Colonial audience to a Native American audience at Stockbridge). This paper combines the catechetical instruction Edwards would have been familiar with and shows how he utilized it in his sermons for a Native American audience at Stockbridge while maintaining a high exposition of Scripture.

The scope of Edwards’s sermons selected for this paper was chosen by examining Edwards’s preaching at Stockbridge. Through examination of the Chronological Sermons Index from the Jonathan Edwards Sermon Index at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale, it was observed that several sermon “series” (two to three sermons building on the same passage or theme) had been preached by Edwards at Stockbridge to his Native congregation. Harry Stout notes that second-generation ministers of the “plain-style” of preaching would deliver two or more sermons on a particular text or would prepare longer-running series that could extend months and even years (as will be seen in examining Edwards’s Charity and Its Fruits series in chapter two).1 Because of this, his short couplet and tri-series of sermons provide the best opportunity to get a feel for his purpose in preaching at Stockbridge. The sermons at Stockbridge show Edwards’s methodology of instruction over several sermons at Stockbridge show how Edwards transitioned both as a pastor and, more specifically, as a pastoral and missional preacher for his audience at Stockbridge.