Over a decade ago, I was frustrated with my lack of methodology in sermon preparation. It seemed that every time I sat down to prepare a message, that I started in a slightly different way or I would do things in a different order. I was taught the exegetical method in seminary, but there are some things that only practice and experience can teach. I knew that I needed some sort of a form or checklist to help me move from one stage of preparation to the next. I don’t use this as much any more, but it served as a great training resource until I was so used to the movements of sermon prep that I didn’t need it any more. Below is what I came up with. If it helps you, great! If you have any questions about how each part functions, let me know in the comments. (By the way, my version has check boxes after each step, so I could get the satisfaction that comes from finishing each step with a “check.”)
Text: ____________________ Date to Preach _____________
1. Read the text in its context. (Read 25x. Hash marks:)____________
Take notes on observations, questions, and cultural/historical issues that you need addressed later in your study.
2. Read the text 1x in alternative versions:
- The Message
3. Translate the text from the original language.
4. Diagram the text (either line or block). Understand the relationship of phrases and words to one another.
5. What is the major theme of the passage?
6. Read available commentaries on the passage.
7. Outline the passage (Exegetical outline)
8. What is the doctrinal focus here? ________________
9. Form the preaching proposition.
10. Outline the proposition (Homiletical outline)
11. Clothe it with illustrations and applications.
12. Form introduction, conclusion and title.