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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movement 1: A Sermon Preparation Process

Movement 1: What is God saying to the original audience through the text? (Scripture)

A.        Prayerful Preparation: Pray a small portion of Psalm 119 slowly and reflectively. Ask God for revelation and insight into His word. Quiet your soul by sitting before the Lord and allowing him to remind you of his love for you and the important calling he has placed upon your life to preach Christ. Ask God to purify your preaching motives and to spiritually form you through the homiletic process to be the “fragrance of Christ.”

B.        Text Selection: Prayerfully select the biblical text to be preached. Be careful to avoid assuming that you already know what God is saying through this text, even if you have preached it before. If you assume the meaning of the text and sermon point at the outset, it will stifle the process of allowing God to speak and it will remove the element of delightful surprise from the homiletic process.

C.        Exegetical Insights: Read the preaching text several times, praying for God’s guidance, and record your reflections on the following questions that may apply:

·         What do you observe about the text as you read it through several times?

·         What questions surface regarding the meaning of the text?

·         Who is the author and what do you know about him?

·         Who is being addressed and what do you know about them?

·         What is the historical context (time and place)?

·         What light does the literary context (immediate context, book context, canonical context) shed on the text?

·         What important words or phrases appear in the text? What do they mean and how are they used (feel free to consult dictionaries at this point)?

D.        Playful Imagination: Fast a meal and pray at least 30 minutes for imaginative insight into the text. Read the text slowly verse by verse trying to imagine yourself as an observer of the original scene. Try to see, hear, smell, touch and taste the original scene. In other words, try to prayerfully and even playfully imagine yourself in the original context of the passage through the eyes of the main characters in the biblical text.

E.        Theological Reflection: Reflect theologically about the text. How does this text intersect with your particular theological tradition? How does the text relate to important Christian doctrines like the Trinity, Incarnation, Christology, Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, Creation, etc.? How might events from Church History and the writings/lives of significant theologians (Athanasius, Augustine, Gregory, Luther, Calvin, Wesley) inform your reading of this text?

F.         Text Focus: In no more than one paragraph, record what God is saying through the text to the people who originally received it. This is not the sermon point or sermon idea, which would take into account both the text of Scripture and the context of your congregation. This is simply a description of the passage’s meaning in its original setting (i.e., Paul is telling the Galatians that it is foolish to rely on legalism to do what only faith can accomplish.)

G.        Commentaries: Read 2-3 reputable commentaries on your passage. How do these commentaries confirm or challenge your reflections? What do they add to what you already observed about the text?

H.        Internalize the Word: Memorize the preaching text (or at least a main portion of it).

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