Unearthing a Sermon

When one expands the outline of the sermon, one normally uses some processes naturally. Charles Koller in his little work How To Preach Without notes attempts to explicitly show them so that preachers can make better use of them.

The first of these processes, that Koller calls Homiletical Devices is The Six Rhetorical Processes. They are as follows:

  1. Narration -Koller notes that the introduction of the sermon often contains narration. Here we are simply told the circumstances of the events that brought rise to the subject. This may be historical background, occassion, audience, subject, etc.
  2. Interpretation – Here we either “paraphrase, define, amplify, or describe (comparison, contrast, association.) You might use cronology or cause-effect in this process.
  3. Illustration – Here the preacher simply illustrates the point. The preacher may make use of any source of illustration.
  4. Application – Here the preacher applies the point to the hearer’s situation.
  5. Argumentation – Here the preacher uses reasoning to expand the point. One must be careful to recognize that argumentation is not to be argumenative.
  6. Exhortation – Here the preacher is pushing the people to the behavioral purpose of the sermon. This is often using the appeals of scripture

So when attempting to expand an outline, the preacher might take each point and look at them through the lens of the 6 rhetorical processes to see how to expand that point. One should take care to use a variety of processes and not merely use the same one repeatedly.

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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 Sermon Construction

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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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