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 – Translate as necessary; attend to text critical matters, grammar, syntax, word studies, structure, purpose, relevant parallel passages, theological analysis, etc.
    • Use resources, e.g., commentaries – Compile notes on key
    • Establish finalized conclusions about the text and refine notes.
    • Consider the passage’s relationship to redemptive history and the Gospel.
    • Consider application(s).
  • Sermon construction:
    • Determine main point/purpose.
    • Develop basic sermon structure.
    • Provide sermon substance: explanation, illustrations, and applications.
    • Develop introduction, conclusion, Gospel/Lord’s Supper reflection, and prayer(s).
  • Final matters:
    • Refine/complete sermon.
    • Preach the sermon to yourself.
    • Pray for sermon delivery and effect.
    • Practice sermon.

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?
    • An inspiring vision of God set forth?
  • Sermon quality:
    • Main point—clear and frequently stated?
    • Well organized—clear and helpful structure?
    • Simple—avoids unnecessary complexity?
    • Brief—the ‘less is more’ principle; distinguish what is important vs. what is merely interesting?
    • 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?