Posted in Preparing to Preach

Determining HOW to Preach the Text: 4 Ways to “Go With It”

I do my best to start the sermon off with something that will help me gauge the temperature of the audience. I like to get a feel early on whether or not I am dealing with a rowdy bunch or a sleepy bunch; a hungry crowd or a “have to be there” crowd; a happy people or a grumpy people. Though I have my preferences as to which kind of crowd they are, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. When preaching a text of Scripture, I have to go with it. And to preach it most effectively,...

Continue Reading

Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Intrigue (4 Suggestions)

I often joke that the 11th Commandment is “Thou Shall Not Bore.” It ought to be a rule of life, in other words, to NEVER – EVER be boring. Life is way too short to be a drag. Unfortunately, far too many people assume that far too many preachers are boring. Let’s change that. But let’s also be real. It can be hard. Especially if you preach to a majority of people who have spent much of their lives in a church. Explaining the Bible to people who have been taught the Bible most of their lives in a compelling...

Continue Reading

Preacher, Use Your Imagination

The chapter heading in my Bible tells me Psalm 18 was written after God delivered David from his enemy, Saul (2 Samuel 21). It was a dramatic deliverance, to be sure. It had been a long time coming. A jealous rage came over Saul due to the whole Goliath ordeal and never stopped (you have to go all the way back to 1 Samuel 17). David, as anyone would be, was grateful and full of praise to the Father for it all to finally be over. If you read Psalm 18, however (along with its very similar counterpart in 2...

Continue Reading

Three Advent Series Ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No doubt. Who doesn’t love Christmas? But let’s be honest, preachers. . . how we do we say what’s already been said (many times, many ways . . . see what I did there?) and what everyone already knows in a compelling way? It’s hard. If you have pastored at a church for more than a couple of years, thinking of ways to say the “old, old story” in a captivating way can be difficult. So, let’s share some ideas with each other shall we? Below are three years’ worth of Advent...

Continue Reading

Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Look Around

You’ve determined what text to preach. You’ve determined how the passage fits in the context of the Bible book. You’ve determined the specific meaning of the passage. Although this is ¬†hard work (I hate to say this, BUT. . . ), it is not the most difficult part of sermon prep. Resources abound to help you determine the meaning of a text. But NO ONE has written a book on how to preach it to YOUR people. There are tons of experts on the Bible you can glean from. Chances are, other than you, there are zero experts on your...

Continue Reading

Determine the Specific Meaning of the Text

“A text can never mean today what it never meant then.” The preacher’s job is to determine what the author meant when he was inspired by the Spirit to write what he wrote. Once the broad meaning of the text is determined, the next step is to get into specifics of the passage being prepared to preach. In other words, when you have figured out why the passage you are studying is there (broad meaning) – you need to get into the weeds for specifics. This will help you begin to see how the form of the sermon might look....

Continue Reading

Determine the Broad Meaning of the Text

Once you have decided what text to preach, the next step is to determine the purpose of the passage. Years ago I heard someone say, “A text can never mean today what it never meant then.” In other words, the preacher’s job is to figure out what the author of Scripture intended when he wrote it. “A text can never mean today what it never meant then” MUST drive your thoughts and study as you work through the text. So, how does the preacher go about figuring that out? Let me suggest you ask and answer each of the following...

Continue Reading

Exegesis? Eisegesis? The Real Jesus?

I’ll never forget one of the first days at seminary. I heard a couple of words that had never entered my ears before. “Exegesis” (pronounced “X-a-Jesus”) and “Eisegesis” (pronounced “Ice-a-Jesus”). I immediately thought I had enrolled in the wrong seminary because they were talking about a false Jesus. I just knew of One and was told all my life there was only One! “Oh no!” I thought. “I was warned that something like this might happen! I moved my wife to a place that believes there are multiple Jesus’!!!” Thankfully, before I packed up everything and stormed out of that...

Continue Reading

Just Get on Base

Without doubt, one of the most freeing pieces of advice on preaching I have ever received was to simply “get on base.” Jim Shaddix, one of my preaching professors at NOBTS, wisely told us preacher boys that when you try to hit a home run every Sunday, you will usually strike out. But when you just try to get on base, you will eventually score some runs. That, preacher friend, will free you up. Jim Shaddix is right. The harder you swing for the seats, the more you will swing and miss. But focusing on getting your people to first...

Continue Reading

Great Sermon Series Idea

At the end chapter 12 of Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered, Martin Copenhaver summarizes his book with 3 foundational questions. As a matter of fact, I believe how he words it, the questions could serve as a tremendous 3-part sermon series. See if you don’t agree. Consider: There are three questions that Jesus repeats in the Gospels. Those three questions, read together, capture so much about what it means to encounter Jesus:¬† Jesus asks, “What are you looking for?” He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” And...

Continue Reading