Sermon preparation

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Reagan, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Reagan

    Reagan
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    In relation to the thread I began on preaching styles, I want to ask another question. We would probably all agree that if we were to go into a preacher's library we know at least some measure of what his sermon might be like. We wouldn't know if he were loud or quiet etc., but we would know the way he would approach the sermon on a text.

    For an interesting survey fellow preachers, what kinds of reading would you do in preparation? In explaining you might use a series that you are preaching right now. (Perhaps this should be on the book forum but that seems more dedicated to pleasure reading as opposed to reading for sermon preparation).

    As for me, I'm preaching on Ruth. I'm 3 sermons into it (1:1-5; 1:6-14; 1:15-18). Besides 1 volume commentaries on the whole Bible or the OT, I begin with Keil & Del., EBC, the old volume in the Exp. Bible, Tyndale's com. on Ruth by Leon Morris. This followed by NIC volume by Hubbard, WBC by Bush, NAC by Block, and BST by Atkinson. Now it's time for the smaller devotional stuff--Ridout, Dehaan, Boone, Gardiner, McGee, Moorhouse, Mauro, and F. C. Jennings. From there I go to Cyril Barber, Willaim Taylor, George Lawson and the delightful volume by Samuel Cox. Next I check my sermon book collection--particularly Spurgeon (wish I had all of his), Alexander MacLaren, George Morrison. Finally I scan my Biblical Illustrator, Preachers Homiletic Comm., and Pulpit Commentary for a few final hints.

    When entering a new book study, I value Cyril Barber and Spurgeon's recommendations the most (though it's hard to get some titles that Spurgeon lists). To me the best expository preaching ever done was by Maclaren. I'd like to preach something like him though I fall far short of it.

    Anyone else willing to share how you do it?
     
  2. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    I like your list but you post far to often. [​IMG]
     
  3. Humblesmith

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    Suggestion: Start and end with the scriptures. Make your basic outline and points directly from the bible. Then use the commentaries for support.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Reagan,

    This is the perfect place to put a commercial for studying the Greek New Testament. It is truly the place to begin your textual exegesis (or the Hebrew Bible).

    There are many study helps out there that one could, if self-disciplined, learn to read in a cursory manner the Gk text for themselves.

    Then you would be equipped to use the exegetical and critical commentaries and not just the devotional commentaries. The idea is to get at the gist and root of the text for yourself.

    For the "non-Greeker" it is OK not to have the original languages. But, one is chewing someone else's cud when you have to use other people's work.

    I am not hard and fast like a Pharisee might be on this point. But the study of the Biblical languages in the original is one of the most important things I have done in my formal education. It was the best time ever spent by far!!!!!

    What say ye other scholars?! Any input???

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    Reagan,

    Just a short follow up: if we believe in "Inerrancy;" does it not follow necessarily that we should know as ver batim as possible what the best original Greek text actually says?

    Think about it.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  6. swaimj

    swaimj
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    When I preach, I follow the procedure that I was taught in seminary for sermon preparation. First, I make an exegetical outline of the passage I am preaching. This is an outline of the text itself. Second, I make a theological outline of the text. This outline tells me the theological content of the passage. Finally, I make a homiletical outline of the passage. This forms the structure of the sermon and must be consistent with the exegetical and theological truths discovered in the previous two. It helps me be true to the statements and meanings of the text.
     
  7. blackbird

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    Swaimj???? You mean, you DON'T "Wing it" like the rest of us preachers?????? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. TomVols

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    Assuming this is in a pastoral context, I'll tell you what my practice is. I take Monday unless my wife has a day off that week and then I take that day with her. But day 1 (Usually Tuesday): I start with the text. I just read and observe, soaking up all I can. I may do some work with the languages, but just try to be an observer. Day 2: More observation, using Greek and/or Hebrew language works. I try to get a main grasp of the point of the passage. Day 3: Check the commentaries to answer the questions I don't know and check if my main grasp is right, and once I get the main idea of the text, I come to the main idea for the sermon and begin writing the sermon. Day 4: Write the sermon. Day 5 (Usually a couple hours on Saturday morning) I'll write or revise a bit more. After about 11 am on Saturdays, I'm done with my sermon prep for the weekend so I can spend time with my family and football [​IMG]
     
  9. swaimj

    swaimj
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    I don't wing it...but if I were a blackbird, I guess I could!!! :D
     
  10. jshurley04

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    Good Thread

    I like the input from others. I have long felt that my sermon prep was lacking and never could put my finger on it. I have seen some insights that will help me.

    Thanks for the Thread.
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    I am preaching thru Romans. Message 24 on Sunday will be the "Verdict" - Romans 3:19-20.

    I translate every verse, then diagram it (remind you of 7th grade English?). For Paul's NT writing, it is a must or we lose the clauses, etc, in 8-10 verses between periods!

    Then I go through the section and begin "chopping" it into bite-size pieces. For instance, 1:16-17 introduces the Gospel and Justification by Faith, but then from 1:18-3:24 we have a huge section on sin (and the NEED for the Gospel/Justification).

    So saw the divisions
    1:18-32 Reprobate sinners
    2:1-16 Rational sinners
    2:17-3:8 Religious sinners
    3:9-24 Trial of sinners

    And then broke down each of these into 1-4 verse sections. Amazing how the text has the outline - sometimes just 1 point with 4-5 sub ideas; other times 3 points and a poem (well, not quite).

    I illustrate it and apply it, but allow GOD to use HIS WORD and not some clever outline or topic I sucked out of my thumb. Topics are good to study, but not to preach.

    Preaching MUST be textual.
     
  12. gb93433

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    I agree. A good handle on the Greek text saves a lot of time and helps to get a proper outline to preach from. Another thing it does is to stop arguments by some who think they know more than anyone else. Many questions can be easily answered with a Greek text in hand that would require some lengthy study otherwise.
     
  13. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    Here's a follow-up question on this subject:

    Of every 10 hours you spend studying for a sermon, how may of those are given to understanding the text (Greek, Hebrew, history, etc.) and how many are spent on applying the text?

    Just wondering.
     
  14. PastorSBC1303

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    I would say a general rule would be that it is 8o% seeking to understand the text and 20% seeking to apply it. I think if you put the time into understanding it properly, the application will follow in a pretty simple manner.
     
  15. TomVols

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    Treat this like you're cooking a meal. Spend enough time til the food is ready to eat [​IMG]

    Spend enough time in the languages and history til you get your understanding. Some passages will require more than others. If you are preaching through a book of the Bible (and if you don't you aren't really a preacher) :D then most of your background work will be done. Remember that accurate interpretation must lead to accurate application.

    The greatest labor and pains must be to simply explain the passage and spend the bulk of your time in application. That was the method of Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and the few greats of today.
     
  16. swaimj

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    One other comment on this topic. A proper sermon point should have the following elements.

    Interpretation: What does the passage mean?

    Explanation: How does the writer communicate his meaning?

    Argumentation: Why is the writer saying this?

    Illustration: Help the audience understand what is being said

    Application: What is the audience supposed to do?

    I make a practice of going through my points in my sermon to make sure that I am including all of these elements and that they are well-balanced in the presentation. If I err into imbalance, it is best to have more application and illustration and less of the first three.
     
  17. El_Guero

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    Dr. Bob

    Don't remind me of 6th grade sentence diagrams ... Maybe since we were a year early I hated it more?
     
  18. El_Guero

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    Reagan

    I put a lot more reading of the text into it. I try to read the book the passage is in(*). Then I read the significant passages through a minimum of 20 times (& a true target of 50 times). Even in the OT, I read the significant passage in Hebrew when time allows. If the text is from a letter or minor prophet then my target is 50 times reading through in English.

    I always read in multiple translations (I try 2 - 3 times per translation at a minimum). I often read the epistles several times through in Greek as well.

    Needless to say, my preparation has scared me from a sermon series in Acts, Romans, John, or Hebrews, so far. Although, I am preparing ahead of time to preach through Isaiah and Jeremiah and possibly Acts, Romans, and Hebrews . . .

    And then I try to read at least 3 commentaries (Conservative) and one 'great' commentary if available (even if critical). Claus Westermann comes to mind because of his critical discussion of all pertinent issues related to the text. Unfortunately, most critical scholarship has been performed by non-believers (& some by liberals).

    Usually, by the time I get to an outline, the text has already become a living text in my mind.

    Where I struggle: I need better illustrations and applicable stories for the congregation!

    God bless


    (*) Complicated ... I have read the bible through several times (I am going through the Bible in KJV again, NKJV, occasionally NAS, & the prophets in Hebrew right now) I almost forgot, I am reading the Bible through in two Spanish translations as well.
     
  19. TomVols

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    I don't know how I let this get past me, but this thread does not belong here. It goes in the pastoral ministry forum. I'm closing here and moving it there.
     

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