My Personal Sermon Check-List & Preparation Process

The following is a general outline of the process I follow when preparing sermons:


Sermon Preparation Process

** Prayer throughout **

  • Understanding the text:
    • Read the text including its broader context.
    • Read the passage slowly, meditatively, and prayerfully – Compile notes.
    • Exegete and interpret – Look at text in original language; look at various translations; attend to text critical matters, grammar, syntax, word studies, structure, purpose, relevant parallel passages, theological analysis, etc.
    • Consider the passage’s relationship to redemptive history, the Gospel, Christ, and mission.
    • Anticipate sermon development: formulate passage’s purpose; develop initial conception of sermon structure; consider illustrations and applications.
    • Use resources (e.g., commentaries, sermons). Compile notes on key
  • Sermon construction:
    • Determine main point/purpose.
    • Develop sermon structure.
    • Fill-in sermon substance: introduction, prayers, explanations, illustrations, and applications, and conclusion.
  • Final matters:
    • Refine/complete sermon.
    • Practice sermon.
    • Preach the sermon to yourself.
    • Pray for sermon delivery and effect.

The following is my personal check-list I developed for consultation when preparing sermons:


Sermon Check-List

  • True to the passage’s…
    • Authorial intent?
    • Passage structure or form?
    • Genre?
    • Context and book?
    • Aim (affections, belief, trust, obedience, thoughts, actions, etc.)?
  • Biblical theology:
    • Redemptive-historical context considered?
    • Relationship to Christ?
    • Passage interpreted in light of the Gospel?
    • Mission-equipping?
    • Inspiring vision of God set forth?
  • Sermon quality:
    • Main point—clear and frequently stated?
    • Well organized—clear and helpful structure?
    • Simple—avoids unnecessary complexity?
    • Selective—on what will you choose to focus?
    • Brief—the “less is more” principle; distinguish what is important vs. what is merely interesting?
    • Perspective—don’t miss the “forest for the trees” or the “trees for the forest.”
    • Concise—high quality to quantity ratio?
    • Use of pithy, memorable phrases?
    • Helpful illustrations, introduction, and conclusion?
    • Practical? Down to earth? Thoughtful, engaging, quality applications
  • Audience consideration:
    • Sermon oriented specifically to this audience?
    • Clear, understandable language?
    • Clear explanations of theological issues?
    • Answers given to questions the average person may have of the text?
    • Audience’s translation(s) considered?
    • Conscientious of nonbelievers? Gospel presented?
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