Since I have been preaching on a regular basis (a minimum of 1 sermon per week) for roughly 15 years, I have evolved from paying attention to a partocular structure of “how to build a sermon” to what happens today. My sermon prep now, like many preachers, is such a natural process that I rarely think about going from one step to the other. It just happens.
However, I have done my best to explain what I “think” happens or should happen on a regular basis for me to get from text selection to delivering the sermon.
- Select the text to be preached. Since I am committed to expository preaching, all I usually do is decide how many verses I believe I can cover. And even then, I may not know that until I craft my sermon later.
- Look at and translate the text from the original language (Greek for N.T. and Hebrew for O.T.). I am not as skilled as I should be in this exercise. Thus, I lean heavily on other resources.
- Compare my translation with my preaching text (ESV) and other modern translations. If I have poorly translated it, I will make sure to address it then if I am able or look at a commentary for help later.
- Look at each word or phrase in the passage and decipher it’s syntax and vocabulary meanings.
- Begin answering questions like the following: What does the text say? (looking at every word by itself, then looking at every phrase by itself, then looking at every sentence by itself, then looking at the whole passage). What does the text not say? What are the interpretive issues in the next that need to be solved that drive the flow of the passage? What are the interpretive issues that the audience will be overly curious about and I cannot afford to avoid?
- Summarize the passage into 1-3 sentences as and being working on a main point or propositional statement for the message.
- Consult commentaries (about 5-10) and any other resources and take notes so I might be able to come to a better understanding of the passage.
- Transcript the sermon in the following order: main body, outline, conclusion, introduction, all transitions, and needed illustrations.
- Review sermon transcript as much as I can before preaching.
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