Lecture 6 – Constituent Elements: Body

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b. The body, argument, or discussion of a sermon

1) For a topical expository sermon

a) The goals envisioned in the discussion or argument of a topical expository sermon

1- The presentation of an accurate and balanced view of your subject or biblical theme

2- The demonstration of the true biblical basis for this view of the given subject or theme

3- The application of the theme to the real world of your hearers


b) The disciplines essential for the attainment of the goals of the topical expository sermon

1- The initial disciplines

(a) Pray earnestly for the present aid of the Holy Spirit.

Jas. 1:5
Lk. 11:13

(b) Acquire a broad acquaintance with your subject or theme.

– Tools of acquisition: concordances, Bible dictionaries, theological dictionaries or encyclopedias, systematic theologies, collections of theological themes such as confessions, catechisms, and their exposition, and speed reading the NT or Epistles or Proverbs

(c) Note and record the main texts and major strands of the theme or subject.

(d) Carefully exegete the key texts which will form the basis of your proof.

See Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 207-208.

2- The intermediate steps

(a) Reduce the mass of gathered material to its basic framework for preaching.


Key text(s)

Main aspects

(b) Compose the headings and select key texts to be expounded under each.

Principles for selecting key texts

– Suitability for brief exposition

– Biblical theological framework

– Known prejudices

– Measure of acquaintance

– Church History

(c) Carefully map out the manner of expounding the texts.

(d) If composing a series, mark out the divisions of the subject.

3- Concluding steps

(a) Work in the illustrations.

(b) Work in the applications.

(c) Work in the transitions and recapitulations.

(d) Compose your introduction and your conclusion (What constitutes a judicious conclusion will be discussed subsequently.)


c) Some concluding guidelines

1- Do not be so bound that you cannot adapt as you plunge into preaching.

Consult Pastor Martin’s series entitled “Here We Stand.”

Bunyan’s “Apology” at the beginning of Pilgrim’s Progress.

2- Do not paralyze yourself by seeking to be exhaustive in your theme or subject.

3- Do not overload the sermon with too much of a good thing.

If two or three witnesses were sufficient for capital punishment under the old covenant and sufficient for discipline under the new covenant, then surely two or three texts should be sufficient to establish a basic assertion made in a topical expository sermon.

4- Do not make a division without a distinction.

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