Sermon As Portrayal of Biblical Character

As we continue looking at Preaching Patterns from Ronald Allen we come to Preaching a Sermon on a Biblical Character. In this method the preacher looks for information on one character of the Bible throughout the Bible as well as in history and other Biblical Reference Materials. Then the preacher tells constructs the story of the Biblical character from all that material.

This sermon can take a few forms. First the preacher can simply preach a sermon on the one character. However some preachers become known for doing “monologue” stories where they take on the persona of the Biblical Character. Some even dress like the times of the particular Biblical character.

Cautions in the Use of the Method

Allen notes that the preacher must make sure to not so dwell on the Biblical times that the contemporary situation is not addressed. In addition, preachers must not project our own contemporary thoughts onto the Biblical characters. For example, it can be easy to turn Biblical Characters into middle class Americans having middle class American values and middle class American desires if we are not careful.

I have seen this done where Jesus instead of being a radical that comes to critique American middle class values, he became a promoter of the status quo in this sermon. A final thing that a preacher must take care not to do is trivialize the story of the Biblical character to make some minor point.

A Good Method

However with those small issues, preaching a sermon based on one Biblical Character can be a powerful witness to the Gospel. Ella Pearson Mitchell’s sermon in Preaching Patterns puts a twist on the method. She begins the sermon as a Biblical character. Then at the end she turns back into herself as a contemporary person seeking to make light of the Biblical character’s story.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Preaching

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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