The sermon must not be a string of unrelated explanations through the verses
but instead must who the overall unity and progression of the passage.
page 42, Biblical Preaching, by Donald R. Sunukjian

If God uses his Word to transform our minds, then biblical and cultural clarity are essential in preaching. When both are present, the proclamation of the Word achieves God's intended purpose. If either is missing, then we might as well stand before the people and bang a gong. Human words may be inspiring, but they do not effect the sort of transformation God intends. Vague, lofty, unclear, yet biblically accurate sermons are just as ineffective.

For me, cultural vagueness leads to student boredom. I too easily fall into this trap. Others are culturally clear, but biblically inaccurate. Listeners are engaged, but they are not hearing, "This is what God says." Both traps are fatal and must be confessed and avoided.


  • Develop the passage outline in large thought chunks. Do not let supporting details obscure the author's main point.
  • Moving from "what happened" to "what happens" involves two steps: (1) Generalize details by moving up the ladder of abstraction. (2) Re-sequence the main points according to the author's logical sequence (which often differs from the textual sequence).
  • The passage and truth outlines anchor the sermon in the passage and restate the meaning of the passage in terms that are broadly understood.


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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