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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 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?
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.
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