Still pondering pointers for preaching the letters. Here are five more:
16. Aim for clarity in your explanation – You will dig up masses of information if you study properly. Sift and sort so that your sermon isn’t packed and dense, but engaging and on target. You could offer a subsequent audio file of out-takes (bonus material!) and notice that most people don’t take you up on the offer!
17. Be alert to different levels of application – Not every application has to be an instruction to action. Sometimes the text’s application is at the level of belief rather than conduct. Sometimes the take-home should be a heart stirred by truth, by Christ, by the gospel. Affections, belief and conduct all matter. If we make application purely about conduct, then we are missing a goldmine of genuine life change.
18. Keep your message structure simple – An easy message outline will remember itself. If you need extensive notes to keep track of your message, don’t expect first time hearers to get it (you’ve had hours of thought and study and practice and prayer, they’re getting one shot only!)
19. Preach the message of the text, not a message from the text – There are any number of potential homiletical outlines, thoughts and applications in a passage. Some are closer than others to the actual message of the text. If you preach clever messages derived from texts you will get lots of affirmation. If you actually preach the message of the text, and you preach it well, you will be a gem of inestimable value in the church!
20. Begin your relevance in the introduction – The old idea of explain for ages and then apply briefly should become a relic of an idea. You can demonstrate the relevance of a passage before you even read it. Get the relevance into the introduction, then continue to show the relevance of the passage and seem relevant as a preacher throughout the message.
Just one more post, not because that is all there is to say, but because I don’t want the series to go long in the hope of being exhaustive – that doesn’t work in preaching, so I probably shouldn’t do it here either!
One thought on “Pointers for Preaching Epistles Effectively – Pt.4”
I think that your pointers for preaching epistles are spot on!!!! It sounds like you might be suggesting that we not take years to go through epistles unloading one verse at a time. Would that be correct? It seems that some think that exhaustive explanation is the way to make sense of the text but that seems to muddy the waters, or to mix metaphors to focus to closely on the crack in the tree bark that we do not even notice the forest around us. Thanks for the great pointers.