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Biblical Preaching Chapter 3

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike Crews | 56 comments Mod
Three or four ideas not related to a more inclusive idea do not make a message; they make three or four sermonettes all preached at one time.

Sermons seldom fail because they have too many ideas; more often they fail because they deal with too many unrelated ideas.

A major affirmation of our definition of expository preaching, therefore, maintains that “expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept.” That affirms the obvious. A sermon should be a bullet, not buckshot. Ideally each sermon is the explanation, interpretation, or application of a single dominant idea supported by other ideas, all drawn from one passage or several passages of Scripture.

Every sermon should have a theme, and that theme should be the theme of the portion of Scripture on which it is based.

I have a conviction that no sermon is ready for preaching, not ready for writing out, until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as a crystal. I find the getting of that sentence is the hardest, the most exacting, and the most fruitful labour in my study. To compel oneself to fashion that sentence, to dismiss every word that is vague, ragged, ambiguous, to think oneself through to a form of words which defines the theme with scrupulous exactness—this is surely one of the most vital and essential factors in the making of a sermon: and I do not think any sermon ought to be preached or even written, until that sentence has emerged, clear and lucid as a cloudless moon.

People shape their lives and settle their eternal destinies in response to ideas.

If we will not—or cannot—think ourselves clear so that we say what we mean, we have no business in the pulpit. We are like a singer who can’t sing, an actor who can’t act, or an accountant who can’t add.

When reduced to its basic structure, an idea consists of only two essential elements: a subject and a complement.

When we talk about the subject of an idea, we mean the complete, definite answer to the question, “What am I talking about?” The subject as it is used in homiletics is not the same thing as a subject in grammar. A grammatical subject is often a single word. The subject of a sermon idea can never be only one word. It calls for the full, precise answer to the question, “What am I talking about?”

The complement “completes” the subject by answering the question, “What am I saying about what I am talking about?” A subject without a complement dangles as an open-ended question. Complements without subjects resemble automobile parts not attached to a car. An idea emerges only when the complement is joined to a definite subject.

Moreover, behind every subject there is a question either stated or implied. If I say that my subject is “the importance of faith,” the implied question is, “What is the importance of faith?”

If the words subject and complement confuse you, then try thinking of the subject as a question and your complement as the answer to that question. The two together make up the idea.

Because each paragraph, section, or subsection of Scripture contains an idea, we do not understand a passage until we can state its subject and complement exactly.

Thinking is difficult, but it stands as our essential work. Make no mistake about the difficulty of the task. It is often slow, discouraging, overwhelming. But when God calls us to preach, He calls us to love Him with our minds. God deserves that kind of love and so do the people to whom we minister.


message 2: by Mike (new)

Mike Crews | 56 comments Mod
Eric wrote: "That is why you’re such a great preacher. The hard work of exposition is too often shortcut by preachers giving a running commentary on a passage and not a Biblical sermon. The boiling down of the ..."

You flatter me, sir, far beyond any heights I may ever reach. But thanks for the comment! Also, thanks for the book recommendation. I am reading another of Dever's books right now, but I will have to get a copy of the one you suggested. Pray all is well with you, your family, and your ministry. Keep us in your prayers, as I will you also. God bless!


message 3: by Wayne (new)

Wayne (miracleman56) | 7 comments Do you guys have a "Bromance" going on??? Hahahaha


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