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- Get a Text to Preach – There are many ways to get a text. The preacher can choose a text. The preacher can use a lectionary like the Revised Common Lectionary that assigns a text. The preacher can create a sermonic plan that incorporates and includes a list of texts. One preacher told me that he daily reads the Bible devotionally and then he writes down insights. When it is time to preach he goes through his notes for the previous year to find themes and texts to preach.
- Interpret the Text For Preaching – Biblical exegesis consists of reading the text closely. An outline method that I use for exegesis is from Dr. Brad Braxton. He looks at the text from a few angles to get a well rounded view of the text. First he gets his initial impressions of the text by reading it in various translations and noting whatever comes to his mind in relation to the text. Then he goes to a literary analysis where he carefully examines the literary structure of the text. Here we look at exactly what is said in the text. Then he does an analysis of the Historical and Rhetorical dimensions of the text under consideration. Here we look at the history behind the text including the author and the hearers of the text. Finally, Dr. Braxton looks at the Theological and Contextual dimensions of the text. Here we seek to understand the social context of the text and the theology of the writers and hearers of the text.
- Get a Theme for the Sermon – What is the point of your sermon? Here you look at your exegesis and determine what does God want the hearers to get from the sermon and how do you think the hearers should respond to the sermon? In other words what does the Sermon Claim about the Gospel and what do you want the people to do as a result of hearing the sermon.
- Write the Sermon – Using the theme of the sermon and the exegesis, write the sermon. Be sure to structure your sermon in a way that makes sense. By that I mean that the movement of the sermon makes sense and would not be confusing to the hearers. I try to write my first draft as quickly as possible.
- Prepare Sermon for Preaching (Editting and Polishing) – If you have written your sermon very quickly then it is time to actually edit the sermon. Condense the sermon by getting rid of words that are redundant. You also want to get rid of theological concepts that might be hard to understand for the hearers. You don’t have to dumb down the content, but you must state whatever you have to say in a clear way.
- Practice the Sermon – Go over the sermon in your mind or out loud. Reading the serrmon out loud will help you to continue the editing. You will find some parts don’t make sense and other parts can be made more clear. You will also gain a greater command of your sermon.
- Preach the Sermon With Confidence – Go ahead and present the sermon. You have prepared, you have a Biblical sermon becuase you did adequate exegesis. You have an interesting and informative sermon becuase you came up with the sermonic point and you have an idea of how the people should respond to the sermon.
You can see his process more fully in the book Preaching Paul.
Someone asked once how long should each step take? Well that is a hard question, it should take as long as it takes you to finish the point. But I do wish to add that you will never be totally finished in sermon preparation even after the presentation of the sermon. So you must prepare enough…what that means depends on who you are…