Reflections at 60 by Sinclair Ferguson

Greetings UBFriends from Russia!

I would like to direct you to a good talk by Sinclair Ferguson (1948 – ).  He is a Scottish preacher from Glasgow, but now serves in South Carolina.  He’s a very good preacher.  I have listened to his series on Ephesians, James and 2 Timothy numerous times (they’re available at and  John Piper, when asked who is the preacher he’d sit under, if he were not a church pastor himself, mentioned Sinclair Ferguson at once.  And Hughes Oliphant Old in his monumental 7-volume work wrote the following about Sinclair Ferguson:

“As I have said several times, I am not in the business of handing out the senior preaching prize, but there is no denying it—the preaching of Sinclair Ferguson is exemplary no matter on which side of the Atlantic one considers the question.”

In my experience, Sinclair Ferguson is not a rock-star preacher like John Piper at all.  He’s got a lovely Scottish accent, he is not loud, but is full of worship in preaching, and very serious.  He also wrote a number of good books published by Banner of Truth Trust and other publishing houses (most recent titles are “In Christ Alone” and “By Grace Alone”).

I first came to love this preacher because of the talk I’d like to point you to (and an interview with him by C.J. Mahaney).  And I also have a personal request for English-speaking brothers and sisters who could possibly help me transcribe these audios (2.5 hrs long, two parts) into text format.  Then I will translate them to Russian, for the edification of Russian ministers, too (not just in UBF).

Here is the link to the audios (please note that they were delivered in 2008, when Sinclair Ferguson became sixty):

“Preaching The Word. Reflections At Sixty – Part 1” by Sinclair B. Ferguson.

“Preaching The Word. Reflections At Sixty – Part 2” by Sinclair B. Ferguson.

If the links above don’t work, here is the master page:

Sinclair Ferguson audio master page

Even if you have no time to help with the transcript, please listen to this talk – it’s very good.  It’s not a mere autobiography, because you learn from a number of other good ministers, through Sinclair Ferguson’s spiritual lens.


  1. Hi Timothy, West Loop UBF bought an audio transcriber program, which converts audio into text. Let me ask Rhoel, who knows how to use this program, to see if he can do it. I bought and read Ferguson’s book, “By Grace Alone.” I hope to listen to the audio soon.

    • Hello, Ben.  Let’s see if it handles Scottish accent well :-)
      Thank you!

    • Darren Gruett

      You have an audio transcriber program? How well does it work? That sounds pretty neat.

    • Hi Darren / Timothy,
      The software I use is Dragon Speaking Software. It was about 40.00

      At initial setup, there is a wizard that determines your speak pattern. You are asked to read a paragraph and saves your profile speech pattern. It is accurate when you speech into a mic slowly. However, transcribing audio mp3 is not very accurate since there are no save speech patterns for that speaker. For example, it is not very accurate with people who have accents. It has a hard time transcribing Tim Keller’s NY accent and rapid extemporaneous speech.

    • Hello, Rhoel.
      I think mp3 can be cut to small piece to train, unless the software requires definite phrases to be pronounced.
      In this case we cannot have the correct samples.
      I think software solution is more costly than transcribing this.  Whatever the results, just listen to the talk.

    • Hi Timothy, Rhoel did transcibe it, but the whole lecture is without paragraphs, and with typos (probably because of Ferguson’s accent) in 11 pages of a Word document. It is quite hard to read, but perhaps could help as we read it, correct it, while listening to the audio at the same time. I’m not sure if that is useful, or to simply transcribe from scratch, which will surely also take a long time.

    • Thank you, Ben and Rhoel!
      Could you please send that file to me?

  2. Thank you, Timothy.  This is really good listening.  His conviction of our great need to “stretch” ourselves and our listeners to the majesty and glory and honor of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity resonates deeply with me. He says, “Our Christ is not big enough”.  How true.  We need to ask the question, “Where is Jesus Christ in this story?” rather than “Where am I in this story?”.  He gives such practical and sound advice…who to read especially.  Thank you again!

    • Hello, Sharon.  I am glad you found this talk useful.
      I found many good advices from Ferguson from the many times I’ve listened to this talk.  Like a woman he mentioned that listened to the same sermon many times and found new things each time just because she didn’t have the framework to put all that in.
      I have a lot to learn here because of the same reasons – lack of spiritual knowledge and experience.

    • Yes.  Someone else put it this way,  ‘After years of Bible study, I feel like I have so many bricks, but no blueprint to follow to build the building.”  Regarding the missionary methods of Apostle Paul, Roland Allen writes, ‘By teaching the simplest elements in the simplest form to the many, and by giving them the means by which they could for themselves gain further knowledge, by leaving them to meditate upon these few fundamental truths, and to teach one another what they could discover, St. Paul ensured that his converts should really master the most important things.”   By simple I don’t think he means easy.  I think he means the glorious basic truths of God’s grace through the gospel, the Trinity, etc.

  3. Here is a video interview regarding his book “By Grace Alone”: 

  4. Hey a quick note to my UBFriends. Next April 10-12 is the 2012 Together For The Gospel Conference in Louisville, KY. T4G is an awesome Gospel centered conference full of great preaching (by people like John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney and others) and fellowship. I will actually be running a booth at the conference for the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust and we will be giving away thousands of free ML-J books and MP3 sermons. I would love to see you guys (and gals) there! Here is the website for the conference definitely stop by and say hi if you attend! God bless all of you!

    • That’s awesome David. If I wasn’t so far away, I would definitely stop by. 

    • David, please keep several free copies for me, both books and MP3s :-) I can pay for the shipping to Russia by Amazon gift card or physical books in exchange.
      My contact is timothyha at Google’s domain.

    • Hi Timothy, I think that I can arrange that! And also probably more…let me contact some people and I’ll get back to ya

    • Thank you very much.
      So it was good to hear your invitation and it was good to ask you for a favor. :-)

  5. Ben and Rhoel sent me a transcript made by the software. It is quite good and next week I will be editing it, I think. Will post results here.

    • Timothy, I think this transcript will be quite long. Perhaps we could make it a follow-up post instead of adding it to the comments?  If you add it as a pending article, I’ll take care of publishing it.

      Also, let me know where to start, and I’ll help edit it based on comparing the text to the mp3.

    • I think I will start first, and if I need additional help, I will ask you to join. I’ve already been helped by Ben and Rhoel with the software.
      P.S. This Sunday I will be preaching in our Moscow center, that’s why I cannot start now and tell.

    • After editing and formatting, the talk could be posted as a series of posts, if it fits. Or I will put it online somewhere (or just submit it TGC’s archive) and link it here.

    • Ok cool. I’m looking forward to reading this.