Paul at Cup of Coffee Talk has been blogging about how to prepare an exegetical sermon. Paul has made an extra effort to make his posts applicable to general Bible study—in other words, the tips he provides will help you study a passage in-depth even if you don’t plan to preach a sermon on it.
Here’s what he’s blogged so far:
- Reading and Prayer. “As I am preparing to preach a passage the first thing that I do is read over the text in English praying my way through the passage…. In this step I simply try to take the passage in, and let the Holy Spirit use it in my life. During this time I read through the passage that I will be preaching on, as well as immediate and greater context. I try my best not to be thinking about outlines or commentaries in this step.”
- Grammatical Analysis. “Normally I simply print out the Greek text of the passage with plenty of space to write between the lines. I then identify all the words and how they fit grammatically. Finally, I produce my own translation of the passage….. If you do not know Greek then you… can take the English text and find the nouns and verbs and pronouns. Look at every word and try to determine how it functions grammatically within the passage. You will not believe how profitable this short exercise will be in your own study of God’s word.”
- Diagramming. “There are many forms that are used to do this, but I use a simple block diagramming method. For those of you who do not know Greek I would highly encourage you to still use this method in English. The idea is to push all of the important verbs to the left, and all of the modifiers to the right.” (pdf illustration)
- Analytical Outline. “This step takes the Greek grammatical work that we did in the last step and transitions into an English outline. This outline simply takes the text and breaks down the logic of the passage (which was determined in the previous section).”
- Homiletical (Preaching) Outline. “We have attained as much of the data as we can and it is time to put ourselves to work on presenting this data in sermon form. This is where to ‘art of preaching’ comes in. We must figure out how to take our hours of study and convert [it] into less than an hour. And in that time we must also remember that the very souls of our listeners might very well be at stake. This makes the ‘art of preaching’ the most sacred of all arts.”