Speakers fall into this abuse [i.e., "several miscellaneous and unrelated applications
drawn from different verses in the passage"] when they fail to have one timeless takehome truth
that covers the whole passage. Seeing the narrative only as a story,
rather than as theology designed to reveal one central truth,
they instead seek many smaller truths from individual phrases in the biblical account.
page 171-172, Biblical Preaching, by Donald R. Sunukjian

Types of shaping
  • Deductive shape unpacks the takehome truth.
  • Inductive shape culminates with the takehome truth.
  • Contemporary relevancy can be placed at the end (useful when only the takehome truth is applicable), throughout the sermon (useful when the biblical segments have relevancy), or wrapped (useful for narrative).
Shaping (placement of the timeless takehome truth) and showing (placement of the contemporary relevancy) help connect the listener to the meaning of the text and the relevance of that meaning. This must be an intentional process if we are to preaching to make disciples. It ought not be left to chance.


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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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