Perkins was born in 1558 in Marston Jabbet, Warwickshire. He was educated at Christ College, Cambridge. He graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in 1581, but thereafter remained at Christ's College as a member of the college council until 1595; William Perkins served as a preacher at St. Andrew's Church from 1584 until the day he passed away at the age of forty-four.
A man of considerable ability, Perkins has been called a "Puritan theologian of the Tudor period." With a deep commitment to reviving and transforming the lives of practicing Christians, he realized the centrality of Christian piety and the strategic, God-indicated importance of what is spoken from the pulpits of the churches in England. It was with this vision that he labored in proclaiming the gospel. The three large volumes of his writings are abundant testimony to the strength with which he performed his ministry. Perkins stands out in the history of the Church of England after the Reformation for the tremendous influence his preaching had on generations of gospel preachers. His desire for a truly biblical and powerful ministry can still be felt today in his re-published treatises. Despite the somewhat modernized language of the new editions, his books appear in virtually unabridged form.