LECTURE 10 ON SERMON PREPARATION Explanation

Explain only what is clear from Scripture. Explain only what you yourself fully understand. Distinguish between what is clearly revealed and that which is mysterious. Mysteries should simply be stated because that is what God does. Explain only what needs to be explained, and do not under any circumstances allow the explanation to dominate the sermon and the flow. With respect to exegeting the passage, avoid speculation. Many times preachers indulge inĀ  a variety of speculative interpretations that resemble allegory. In addition exegesis is a science for preachers and the congregation does not need to understand the intellectual process. They simply need to see the logical steps in reaching the conclusion. In your sermon you should define, divide, give examples, and comparisons. The worst sin is to spend so much time in explanation that the direction of the message is lost and the audience as well. Logan emphasizes in his somewhat philosophical article that language is important because we are commissioned with the truth.

Also we need to preach to the mind and not the emotions. Emotions are good, but only if they are directed by the understanding of the truth. I repeat, get a dictionary, get a thesaurus and use them in the preparation of every sermon. Limited vocabulary is a liability. Chapell suggests that a sermon is not simply an outlined description of the text, but an explanation of how the listeners should respond to a mutual condition that we share either with the original subjects or objects of the text. He gives us steps in explanation which are: Observe, Interrogate (Why is this written here?), Exegete exactly what the passage says and make sure that the people understand it in their native language. His outline of procedure is helpful: 1) State the truth, 2) Place the truth, 3) Prove the truth. Chapell deals with a number of steps in this process but under prove the truth he uses the term argument. We will consider this in our next lecture, but, at this point, we should note that the word argument has a bad reputation in our modern world. Arguments are in the papers everyday and they are arguments that have led to violence. However an argument in the classical sense is a reasoned response. In II Corinthians 10:5 Paul refers to argument as something which characterizes his preaching, We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. In Acts 17:17 the King James Version uses the word dispute which is exactly what the Greek means, although the New International Version says reasoned, the meaning is essentially the same, So he reasoned (disputed) in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. This is an argument.