Does your sermon have a text?

“Hey Doc, I got a sermon, can you help me find a text so that I can preach it?” A young preacher asked me through email.

He was so excited. He immediately began to talk about his points. He had three of them. They built on each other. And then he had his celebrative sermonic close.

However, he was missing a key ingredient. That was the text.

Of course the great problem is that if you ain’t got text, you ain’t got a sermon.

A sermon is the product of struggle with…interpretation of…and interaction with a text of scripture. Without a text, you couldn’t have done all of those things.

I treaded lightly with my brother preacher, but I told him, “You don’t get a text after you have a sermon, you might get a sermon idea, but you simply must get a text, and struggle with that text, to have a sermon.

He was a little sorrowful about how he wouldn’t be able to use the “sermon” he had, but he thanked me for my time.

My sisters and brothers, when you preach and teach the scripture, always, always, always, lay out your interaction with that text. Without a text, you might have a nice speech. It might be a powerful lecture on a subject. But if it ain’t got a text, it ain’t a sermon.

Let’s resolve to preach sermons today.

To ensure that you have a deep interaction with the text, I created the Four Waves of Biblical Exegesis White-paper. Check it out and let me know what you think:



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.

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