Thoughts by Pastor Jay Jones
Determining your text
Finding your scripture text can be accomplished a variety of ways. The preacher can choose a text, use a text that is assigned to him, or work through a prebuilt list of texts from his previous study. It is valuable to write down insights and scripture references as you read through your daily devotions. This allows you both a mental and written archive of strong sermon thoughts.
Interpret the Text
Biblical exegesis (critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text) involves a very close reading and analysis of the scripture. When studying your text, look at the verse from various angles of relevancy, such as “What was the emotion here?” “Why was the writer writing this?” “What environmental influences were present?” “What were those nearby doing, or experiencing?”
Firstly, get an initial impression of the text by reading it in various translations and note whatever comes to mind in relation to the text.
Next, look at the literary structure of the text. Exactly what is being said?
Then, examine the history behind the text, including who its author was and who the audience was.
Finally, look at the Theological and Contextual dimensions of the text. It’s important to understand the social context of the text and the theology of the writers and hearers.
Get a theme for the sermon
What is the point of your sermon? Here, you examine your exegesis and determine what does God want the hearers/readers to get from the sermon and how do you feel they should respond to it? In other words, what does the Sermon claim about the Gospel and what do you want the people to do as a result of hearing the sermon.
Write the sermon
Using the theme of the sermon and the exegesis, write the sermon. Be sure to structure the sermon in a manner that makes sense… the movement of the sermon should not be confusing to the hearers. (more explained)
Try to write this first draft as quickly as possible.
Editing and Refining
If you’ve written your first draft quickly, now is the time to polish and edit. Condense your manuscript by removing words that are redundant. You will also want to either remove or reword theological concepts that will be hard to understand for the hearers. Don’t dumb-down the content, but you must state what you have to say clearly and simply.
Practice your sermon
Read over your sermon in length, and do it out loud. Next, begin reviewing your sermon in your mind without your notes to be sure you have the elements soundly founded. You’l find that some parts may need to be revised for clarity and some may simply need to be removed or even elements added. Rehearsing your sermon will give you greater command over its presentation.
Preach with confidence
You have prepared, and God has helped you to craft this message. Preach it. You did adequate study, exegesis and because it came out of you, it’s part of you. Be confident in its delivery. Your sermon is interesting, it is informative and because you prayed consistently before, during and after its presentation, it will be anointed for this purpose.
Some will wonder how long each step should take in sermon preparation, and honestly it depends on the person. It should take you as long as it take to finish the point. However, you will never be totally finished with the sermon, even after its delivery. Every sermon is just a mere fraction of the full knowledge and incredible power of the Word. So, prepare enough… what that means simply depends on who you are, and what God is wanting to say through you for this occasion.