The Gloss and the Text: William Perkins on Interpreting Scripture with Scripture (Ballitch)

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Lexham Press

Scripture opens itself up by its own words and interpretation.

William Perkins is the father of Puritanism, often remembered for his preaching manual, The Art of Prophesying. Much attention has been given to the Puritan movement, especially in its later forms, but comparatively little has been given to Perkins.

In The Gloss and the Text, Andrew Ballitch provides a thorough examination of the hermeneutical principles that governed Perkins’s approach to biblical interpretation. Perkins taught that the Bible was God’s word as well as the interpretation of God’s word. Interpretation is no private matter; it is a public gift of the Spirit of God for the people of God. Ballitch’s study sheds light on Perkins as a preacher, theologian, and student of Scripture.


Table of Contents: 

  1. Perkins’s Exegetical Method
  2. Exegesis in Sermons and Commentaries
  3. Exegesis in Practical Works
  4. Exegesis in Theological Works
  5. Exegesis in Polemical Works



Andrew S. Ballitch (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Associate Pastor of Preaching and Ministries at Westwood Alliance Church in Mansfield, Ohio.



"Scholars increasingly recognize the work of Reformed and Puritan divines as exegetes of the Holy Scriptures. In this well-researched, clearly written study, Ballitch gives us a front-row seat to observe William Perkins in both his principles and practice of expositing God’s word for life application. Given the prominence of Perkins as a preacher and theologian in the Reformed experiential tradition, Ballitch’s work will benefit not only students of history but also Reformed experiential preachers and theologians today." – Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids

"If we can but capture Perkins’s zeal for expounding Scripture—his commitment to sola Scriptura—then the church in our time is heading for reformation. Ballitch’s study is very fine indeed, a page turner if ever there was one. I will return to it often." – Derek W. H. Thomas, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC; Chancellor’s Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary; teaching fellow, Ligonier Ministries

"Dr. Andrew Ballitch engages in a first-class analysis of Perkins’s exegetical method. His research is clear and concise and makes a valuable contribution to the study of Perkins, the Elizabethan church, and pre-modern biblical exegesis." – J. Stephen Yuille, vice president of academics, Heritage College & Seminary, Cambridge, ON; associate professor of biblical spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

"William Perkins has long been recognized as the leading first light of the English Puritan movement. Remarkably, though, until now no one has given careful attention to the exegetical dimension of Perkins’s work. Now that lacuna has been filled by this insightful and clear work by Andrew Ballitch. Not only was Perkins a theological and practical giant, he was also a skilled and careful interpreter of Scripture as Ballitch shows us in this illuminating book." – Shawn D. Wright, professor of church history, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary