Literature Study GuidesSinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God | Study Guide

Jonathan Edwards

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Course Hero. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Study Guide." August 22, 2018. Accessed July 6, 2020.


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Jonathan Edwards

Year Delivered



Primary Source


Argument, Speech

At a Glance

  • By 1741 Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) had been the sole pastor of the Church of Christ in Northampton, Massachusetts, for 12 years. His eloquence and intellect propelled him to leadership of the Great Awakening, a vigorous religious revival in the British colonies of North America.
  • In July 1741 Edwards was invited to preach in Enfield, Connecticut. The sermon he delivered was called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." His purpose was to sway the unconverted with a vivid portrayal of the destruction awaiting them if they continued to allow the weakness of their free will to deny Jesus Christ and reject his grace, a divine gift of undeserved mercy offered to all Christians.
  • For Edwards, only the restraining mercy of God stands between sinners and the infernal torments of the devil. Because God can offer sinful humankind the opportunity for repentance and redemption, Edwards urges his audience to use their free will to escape the wrath of an angry God by accepting Jesus Christ.
  • Edwards had delivered the sermon to his own congregation with little effect. At Enfield, however, the congregation shrieked and moaned in response.
  • The sermon is celebrated as a masterpiece of persuasive oratory and offers a snapshot of changing religious beliefs in the mid-18th century.


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