4 Ideas for Sermon Prep with Your ESV Digital Scripture Journal

This article is part of the ESV Digital Scripture Journal series.

The Challenge

Sermon prep is not easy. Crafting a meaningful sermon demands time, energy, careful thought, clear insight into the Bible’s meaning, and nuanced application of Scripture’s intent. Yet the reality that Christ’s church is built up through the proclamation of his Word makes every labor worthwhile. Today, pastors enjoy a plethora of resources that aid them in the work of preparing to preach.

One such tool is the ESV Digital Scripture Journal. Designed from the ground up for use with a digital tablet and stylus, this resource is tailored to take advantage of the portability and dynamic features of a digital Bible without losing the beauty and interactive nature of a traditional print Bible, making it a great fit for weekly sermon preparation.

Here are four ideas highlighting how pastors might use the ESV Digital Scripture Journal for sermon preparation.

1. Study inductively within the biblical text.

Use the portrait orientation PDF—which features additional space between each line of Bible text—to tie your notes even more closely to the text itself, whether for initial study of the text or for notes you will bring up with you to preach. Highlight key words using various colors, and then note their significance immediately below using your stylus. Draw lines between the text and important points you want to make in your sermon. Paste in a note from a commentary or a quote from a historical figure.

The ESV Digital Scripture Journal makes it simple to dig deeply into the text of Scripture and provides ample space to add annotations you’ll reference in your sermon.

2. Exegete the passage (and show your work).

Drawing out the meaning of the text is an important initial step in sermon preparation—one that the ESV Digital Scripture Journal is well-suited to foster.

Jot down word meanings, key questions, transitional phrases, repeated ideas, cross references, background information, or biblical-theological themes. Work through the logical progression of a passage alongside the text of Scripture, marking connections between God’s words and your notes as you discover the author’s flow of thought. Begin to outline key points from the text, tying together the big-picture message of a pericope or biblical book to its individual parts.

3. Outline your sermon.

While some preachers prefer to use a manuscript for sermon delivery, many opt for an outline. Use the landscape orientation PDF to write out your main and supporting sermon points immediately beside the text of Scripture itself, highlighting phrases you want to make sure not to miss and making connections between text and notes so that everything you need to preach is available in one place.

Make a mistake or want to move something you’ve written? Use your PDF reading/annotation app’s annotation tools to make the necessary correction quickly and easily.

4. Print your sermon notes.

Prefer taking a hardcopy of your sermon notes, outline, or manuscript into the pulpit? Simply print out the relevant pages from your ESV Digital Scripture Journal and leave your digital tablet at home.

Find more tips, ideas, and tutorials at crossway.org/DigitalScriptureJournal.

NOTE: Use of this product requires a PDF reading/annotation app. Most tablet devices support PDF reading/annotation natively, but additional third-party apps may also be available. Some of the ideas referenced above may depend on features not supported by all apps.

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Introducing the ESV Digital Scripture Journal

Designed from the ground up for use with a digital tablet and stylus, the ESV Digital Scripture Journal is an innovative resource created to maximize the best of the digital Bible and print Bible experience.

Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at crossway.org/about.