Insights Into the Art of Preaching

Insights Into the Art of Preaching
Ray Jones


• The main purpose of interpreting a text is not UNIQUENESS but CLARITY!

• The first task of the preacher is EXEGESIS – careful, systematic study of the Scripture to discover the original, intended meaning; to find out the original intent of the words of the Bible; to hear the Word as the original recipients heard it

• But we don’t just do exegesis when there is an obvious difference between THEN and NOW – it is the first step in studying EVERY text

• Go back to the original and the best sources for yourself first – don’t just begin by consulting somebody’s book! (i.e. Mark 10:23 – one “expert” said there was a gate in Jerusalem called the “Needle’s Eye” which camels could only go through on their knees, but that gate never existed!)

• We must always guard against EISEGESIS – reading our desired interpretation into the text instead of letting the text speak to us!

To provoke your thinking, one of the best things to do is use several Bible translations that you know in advance will differ in their interpretation.

There are three basic theories of translation:

1. Literal: advantage – as close as possible to the original; disadvantage – doesn’t account for cultural differences in customs and expressions (i.e. King James Version)

2. Free: advantage – eliminates historical and cultural “barriers” by expressing Scripture in modern terms; disadvantage – since it is more concerned with translating “ideas” it is not always accurate in exact wording (i.e. Phillips, Living Bible, The Message)

3. Dynamic Equivalence: advantage – translates words, idioms and grammatical construction of the original language into “precise equivalents” in modern language; disadvantage – not as “loose” as a free paraphrase, but still not as exact in its wording
as a literal translation (i.e. New International Version, New Living Translation)


That’s why it’s important to use the King James Version as your primary text to teach Bible doctrine, while you can use other modern translations to teach issues of practical Christian living. Sometimes, modern translations can shed more light on a passage than the KJV, but you have to be CAREFUL!

Bible Translations – PROS & CONS

• The King James Version is the most ACCURATE translation, but there are other valid translations. For example, look at 1 Corinthians 7:36 …

• KJV is accurate, but unclear – But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

• NASB is inaccurate! – But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she should be of full age, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.

• LB is not specific enough! – But if anyone feels he ought to marry because he has trouble controlling his passions, it is all right; it is not a sin; let him marry.

• NIV is accurate and clear – If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.

• TM helps to clarify – If a man has a woman friend to whom he is loyal but never  intended to marry, having decided to serve God as a “single,” and then changes his mind, deciding he should marry her, he should go ahead and marry. It’s no sin; it’s not even a “step down” from celibacy, as some say.

Planning Your Preaching

2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

Planning helps me to …
• Offer a balanced diet
• Collect material far in advance
• Be more creative
• Build momentum
• Take advantage of special days
• Promote messages
• Avoid stress!

• Your goal should always be “PLANNING WITH SPONTANEITY.” If God moves in, the plan moves out!
• Proverbs 21:5 (TM) Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.

How To C.R.A.F.T. A Message

C-collect & categorize

• Eccl. 12:9 (NLT) Because the Teacher was wise … He collected proverbs and classified them …

• Collect Bible verses, quotes, articles, books, sermon tapes, illustrations, etc. – even years in advance!

• Categorize them In a filing system – put something away each day

R – research & reflect

• Eccl. 12: 9 (NASB) The Preacher … pondered and searched out …

• Research is studying with my mind; reflection is listening with my heart (meditation).

A – apply & arrange

• Eccl. 12:11 (NLT) A wise teacher’s words spur students to action and emphasize

Important truths.
• Each sermon should answer three Important questions:
• What?
• So what?
• Now what?
• Arrange your sermon in an outline:

1. Keep it SIMPLE.
Haddon Robinson: “Television has destroyed linear thinking”

2. Get to the point QUICKLY.

3. Make sure your points follow a logical PROGRESSION.

4. Arrange your points to end with IMPACT. “Your lesson must have movement to move people”

5. Arrange your points to use TENSION and RELEASE. “Use humor, use emotion, use up and down”

6. Use a variety of teaching METHODS. “People forget 90% of what they hear within 72 hours”

F – fashion & flavor

• Eccl. 12:10 (NASB) The Preacher sought to find delightful words …

• What is the most practical way to say it?

• What is the most positive way to say it?

• What Is the most personal way to say it?

• What is the most interesting way to say it?

Illustrations are windows that let the light in!

• Matthew 13:34 (NLT) Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.

• “If you think the gathering of biblical facts and standing up with a Bible in your hand will automatically equip you to communicate well, you are deeply mistaken. It will not. YOU MUST WORK AT BEING INTERESTING. Boredom is a gross violation, being dull is a grave offense, and irrelevance is a disgrace to the Gospel. Too often these three crimes go unpunished and we preachers are the criminals.”

• Flavor your lesson with illustrations and quotes, humor, and special features. T – trim &  tie together

• More does not mean better! Slower does not mean deeper!

• Confinement produces power!

• Tie the parts of your lesson together to …

• Connect with your students (relationship before response)

• Gain attention (brevity! variety!)

• Achieve excellence

• Answer their question: “Why should I listen?”

• Ways to conclude a lesson:

• Restate your main points forcefully and personally

• Use a compelling illustration

• Use a piercing question

• Introduce the next lesson using suspense

2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

The above material was written by Ray Jones.

This material may be copyrighted and should be used for study and research purposes only.