I am not an expert preacher or teacher, but I am determined to do both as well as I possibly can. The resources on this page are the ones that I have found helpful in my quest to improve my preaching and teaching.
I was first introduced to the concept of expository preaching in 2006 at a conference that Bishop Gideon A. Thompson of Jubilee Christian Church conducted for his spiritual sons. I try to pay attention when my bishop gives advice, so when he taught us the concept I took notes. Later, he sent each of us a copy of “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson. I read it, and I was hooked. Dr. Robinson defines expository preaching in the following way:
Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to the hearers.
At our 1/9/2011 meeting of the Life Church Leadership Team I tried to communicate to the team my enthusiasm about expository preaching and I shared the sermon preparation steps that I’ve drawn from Dr. Robinson’s book. Here they are:
Select the Passage
Prayerfully select the passage on which you will base your sermon.
Study the Passage
- Read the passage several times in several versions or translations.
- Research the key words in the passage in the original languages (i.e. Greek or Hebrew).
- Research the historical context of the passage.
Discover the Exegetical Idea
What is the passage saying? Boil it down to a single sentence. It may be helpful to remember that sentences (and hence ideas) have a subject (what it’s talking about) and a complement (what it’s saying about what it’s talking about). For example, the sentence “Killer whales have bad breath” has the subject “killer whales” and the complement “they have bad breath”. The following key questions may help you figure out the subject and complement of the passage (and hence the exegetical idea): How? Who? What? When? Where? Why?
- Better Big Ideas (an interview with Haddon Robinson)
- The Ladder of Abstraction
Analyze the Exegetical Idea
Once you have figured out the exegetical idea, it’s time to analyze it. We do this in the following three ways:
- Explain It: What does this mean?
- Prove It: Is it True? Do I believe it?
- Apply It: What difference does it make? So What?
Formulate the Homiletical Idea
Now that you’ve analyzed the exegetical idea, it may be appropriate to restate it for the purpose of preaching. This provides you with the homiletical idea – the exegetical idea restated so that it is effective and memorable when preached. The homiletical idea may become your sermon title.
Determine the Purpose of the Sermon
Now you want to determine the purpose of your sermon. This means figuring out, based on your exegetical idea (and homiletical idea) what you want the congregation to do as a result of hearing it. Your sermon must have an action-based goal.
Decide How to Accomplish This Purpose
You have various options for accomplishing your purpose. At this point you will pick one. Try to keep the following thoughts in mind:
- Make it plain
- Use accessible language and modern parables.
- Make sure people do something with God’s message.
- Keep it simple.
- Use illustrations of truth out of your own experience.
- Impart faith to obey the God’s Word and receive God’s promises.
Outline the Sermon
Now that you know how you’re going to accomplish the sermon’s purpose you can create your outline.
Fill In the Sermon Outline
Now that you have an outline fill it in.
Prepare the Introduction and Conclusion
Once the sermon outline has been filled in, you can prepare your introduction and conclusion. The introduction should be designed to grab your audience’s interest right from the start. Audience attention tends to wane over the course of a sermon. For this reason it’s important to start with the highest level of attention you can legitimately get.
Your conclusion should prepare your audience to take action. You want them to do something with what you’re teaching them.
- Biblical Preaching
- Preach With Power
- The Learn To Preach Podcast by Lonnie Wibberding (follows the Powerful Biblical Preaching notes).
- The Haddon W. Robinson Center For Preaching Excellence
At Life Church we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get the most out of our sermons. For this reason, we provide do the following:
- We use a modern English translation of the Bible (typically the New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society ) for our sermons.
- We provide 1 page handouts containing the scriptures that will be used in the sermon. The following text is useful to include with the scripture sheet handouts:
Understanding The Bible
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Here, for your convenience, are the Bible passages that we will be using in today’s sermon at Life Church. We use the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible so that you can read it in modern English. You may have been accustomed to reading or hearing the King James Version of the Bible, which uses older English (with words like “thee” , “thou”, “thine”, “believeth”, etc.). If so, don’t be alarmed – the passages below are really from the Bible even though they are in modern English.
The Bible was originally written in three ancient languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. None of the people in the Bible, and none of the people who God used to write it spoke English. In fact, English did not even exist as a language when the Bible was written. The King James Version, first published in 1611, was a translation of the Bible from it’s original languages into the every day English that people used back then – almost 400 years ago! They didn’t just speak that way in church – they spoke that way with everyone. The King James Version was “modernized” in 1769, but, even so, English has certainly changed a lot since then! Since you probably don’t speak Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, you’re going to have to read the Bible in translated form. At Life Church we believe that since you’re going to read an English translation of the Bible you might as well use an up to date one – written in the English you speak every day. God wants you to understand his Word so that you can put it into practice!
Life Church Web Site: http://www.lifechurchboston.org/
- We also provide discussion questions for use in our life group meetings during the week. These questions are based on the key scriptures used in the sermon. Check out our Life Group Pages for more information.
- We also make sermon notes available on our web site. The sermon notes should be in PDF form.