Category Archives for "Sermon Editing"

How to Prepare – Editing the Sermon

When you are preparing for preaching, one must edit the sermon. One must take a very close look at the sermon and rewrite it. Henry Mitchell has written a very important article on this very subject that you can find in Best Advice for Preaching. I would encourage all new preachers to get this book.

Henry Mitchell provides some things that the preacher should refine and revise in the editing process. These are:

  1. Grammar and Consistency – Here correct the grammatical problems
  2. Sentence Structure – Simplify
  3. Paragraph Structure – Shorten, provide good topic sentence, and good transitions.
  4. Words – Choose the word you want, use clear words and limit adjectives and adverbs.
  5. Particularity – Get out of the theoretical clouds and preach in particulars with concrete details.
  6. Pronunciation – Figure out how you will pronounce the words in the sermon. Correctly pronouncing a Biblical city or personality really helps your credibility.

When you edit your sermons, think about these aspects as suggested by Henry Mitchell.

Preparing Your Sermon for Preaching – Editing and Polishing

Before you are ready to preach a sermon, you should edit and polish your sermon. One of the few articles that address sermon polishing is Henry Mitchell’s. He has written a in the John McClure edited book Best Advice for Preaching. I generally speak of editing and polishing a sermon in terms of 3 edits. You might look at each of these edits as a different dimension of a comprehensive edit of the sermon manuscript.

Theological Edit

First one should do a theological edit. Here we make sure that what we are saying about God is what we wish to say about God.

Rhetorical Edit


Second we should do a rhetorical edit. The glory of the African American pulpit is its great oratory. Here we should explicitly attempt to speak poetically. Remember that you are writing for the ear and not the eye. Look at your images. Can you speak of them more poetically? Can you use a better image that is more vibrant? As noted above J. Alfred Smith’s work can be helpful here.

Grammatical Edit


Finally we need a grammatical edit. When completing the other edits try not to allow spelling or grammar to deter you. But on this edit you want to ruthlessly eliminate the grammatical and spelling errors that have entered into your sermon.