Stage 2 – Passage Study

This is a series overviewing the 8-stage process of developing a sermon. Remember that for all related posts, you can click on the “Stage 2 – Passage Study” button in the menu to the right.

Stage 2 – Passage Study

Once you have selected your passage or passages for the message, the next task is to study, study, study. A lot of elements come into the equation here, but basically your goal is to study the details of the passage in its context using good hermeneutical principles in order to arrive at the author’s idea in the passage. This stage is strengthened by awareness of how individual genres work, and any Bible study skills you have. I would suggest you do the initial work in the text without reference to commentaries and other experts, but these resources are important once you have soaked yourself in the text first.

Keeping the goal in mind is very important during Bible study. You want to discover the author’s idea in this unit of thought. This will be a distillation of the coherent thought written in the passage. It will take into account all the details, but will be stated in one complete sentence. Keeping this in mind will help you avoid being overwhelmed by endless bunny trails in your study (such as endless cross-referencing, excessive study of minor details and so on).

Previously – There have been numerous posts written that address this stage of the process. The fundamental conviction required concerns whether the text is boss of the message. When it comes to studying the details, not every detail is equal. The process can be described as a wrestling with the flow of the text, or as a journey. It is important not to impose points on a text, but to be sure to enjoy your study!

There have been various posts on the biblical genres too. For narrative passages it is good to review the basics, and to get to grips with them in this post, and in this one. Remember that poetry is different.

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