4 Tips For Writing Sermons – When it comes to writing sermons, it is advantageous to follow a set pattern especially if you are writing weekly sermons. I personally found it easier to write weekly sermons by following a set procedure each week.
I always start with prayer. I take some time just to read the text and observe what is happening in the text. I follow this by setting out a mechanic layout of the text that I am going to preach from for the week. When I finish with the mechanic layout, I spend time putting together a workable outline with the main preaching point, sub-points and incidental points.
#1 I always start with prayer.
Prayer prepares the preachers heart for study.
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls” (James 1:21)
“Therefore laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as new born babes, desire the pure mil of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18)
When you pray God prepares the preachers heart to receive his word with meekness.
#2 I read the text several times.
It is essential to read the passage of Scripture several times in order to observe what is actually happening in the passage. This process is often called observation by scholars.
When you read a passage of Scripture, you are looking for key words and phrases. These are the basic building blocks with which you construct meaning.
Also you need to take note of the structure of the passage – grammatical and literary structure. Grammatical structure answers questions like: What is the subject of the sentence? What is the object? What is the main verb? The more you know about grammar, the more you will get out of the passage of Scripture.
The literary structure looks for the climax and resolution, the cause and effect and questions and answers. If you want to understand chapter eleven in the book of Romans, then you must realize that it is answering a question that Paul asks in verse one. In the narrative in Luke 5:1-11, the turning point of the narrative is the end of verse five when Peter says, “Nevertheless, at your word I will let down the net.”
Literary form and atmosphere are two other features you need to keep in mind when reading the Scriptures. Take notes each time you read the passage.
#3 I sketch a mechanical layout of the passage.
I usually diagram the Greek text. This helps me to visualize the thought flow of the text and enables me to see the main features of its development.
However, not all preachers see the need to diagram the original language. Nevertheless, it is important to sketch a mechanical layout of the text. Again this will help you see the flow of the text and its development.
I always encourage my students to take their time with the mechanical layout. The more time you spend getting this right, the less time you will need to spend organizing your sermon outline.
#4 I construct a sermon outline.
Once I have understood the flow and developments in the passage of Scripture, I usually construct a sermon outline. Most times I will preach from a deductive sermon outline. However there are times when I will preach from an inductive sermon outline.
But for now I will look at a deductive sermon outline. I usually start by looking for the main preaching point, sub-points and incidental points. This is where I spend the most time. I never write a sermon without completing the sermon outline.
The 4 tips for writing sermons help me in the process of preparing sermons for my congregation. These 4 tips for writing sermons are not new. You will find them in the resource material below.
Braga James, 1981, How To Prepare Bible Messages, Multnomah Press, Portland, Oregon.
Chapell Bryan, 1994, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Hendricks Howard G and William D. Hendricks, 1991, Living By The Book, Moody Press, Chicago.
Koller W. Charles, 1995, How To Preach Without Notes, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan.
McQuilkin Robertson, 2009, Understanding and Applying the Bible, Moody Publishers, Chicago.