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Tuesday, August 23, 2005 

Sermon Preparation

This Sunday, I have the opportunity to preach at Elm Creek Community Church in Maple Grove. As I have been preparing the sermon, I thought I'd give a basic outline of how I go about composing it. Click the title for a link to my screen resources.

After much prayer (and continued prayer throughout), I settle on a text. Its best if I'm preaching through a pericope or book, which forces me to deal with the next verses. I think this a strong antidote against preachers manipulating their congregations and merely preaching whatever is on their minds.

First, (in true TBI fashion) I translate the text from the original languages, diagram their sentence structure, and finally arc the clauses prepositions to get a feel for the logical consistency of the text. This gives me an excellent idea what the author is trying to get at. I analyze the text first from a grammatical-historical perspective, and then follow that with a redemptive angle. The redemptive comes logically after, though receives the emphasis. I have a series of syntax questions that I put the text through, attempting to glean more details and enthymemes from the text.

Externally, I run word searches for key nouns and verbs, and look for similar constructions in the original text. If I need to, I may cautiousy consult Kittel's TDNT or TLG for help with a particular word. Following this, I begin to consult the commentaries: usually Matthew Henry, Calvin, and modern writers that I trust. After this, I will browse theological works that may apply. One I often turn to (when preaching from a Pauline text) is Ridderbos' Paul: An Outline of His Theology. Before I finish, I run the text through another set of questions, these being a bit more theologically oriented. I analyze the text for any cardinal doctrines taught. Finally, I analyze how this particular text employs a Law/Gospel hermeneutic, and then, a la Spurgeon, I make a beeline to the cross, no matter the text.

Resources I have used so far:
  1. Piper sermons
  2. Calvin's Commentary
  3. James M. Boice
  4. J. Ligon Duncan
  5. R. Gaffin Resurrection & Redemption
  6. Ridderbos Paul
  7. McKnight's Commentary

While there is still composition and rhetoric to consider, as well as the flow of the sermon, these are the basic categories I employ. This week I'm preaching on Philippians 2:9 - 11:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I'll put up more of my resources after the weekend. Here is an appetizer.


Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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