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:
- True to the passage’s…
- Authorial intent?
- Passage structure or form?
- 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?