How can a preacher help his congregation to be dependent on the Word, and not his own personality?

9Marks
Don’t spend too much time trying to be funny. It’s tempting to rely on humor to make an emotional connection with your congregation, but you should resist the urge. When humor “happens,” fine. But be careful: if you train your people to expect humor, that’s what they’ll desire instead of God’s Word.

How can a preacher train his congregation to make the most of expositional preaching?

9Marks
Preach at a level that’s high enough to make them stretch, but not so high that the sermon flies over their heads. Apply the text to their lives specifically. Provide cards that list all the upcoming sermons, a blog post, or something similar that will inform the congregation of what biblical texts the preacher will cover in coming weeks. Encourage the church to study the biblical texts during the week before the sermon.

How do we do good biblical theology in our preaching?

9Marks
Set each text within the overall narrative of Scripture. From the text, look backwards in the Bible and identify what covenantal promises may be relevant to the text at hand: promises to Abraham? Moses? David? Then look forward and consider how your text is fulfilled in the person and work of Christ.

How do we get from any given text to the gospel?

9Marks
Set the text within the context of the whole book it’s in. The unique themes of the book will point the way to Christ. The themes of creation and promise in Genesis, redemption in Exodus, holiness and sacrifice in Leviticus, and so on, all ultimately point to Christ, and individual passages within those books generally highlight those themes in some way.

How can a preacher explicitly address non-Christians in his sermons?

9Marks
Be sensitive to the worldview and emotional wiring of non-Christians. Think in advance about how your sermon will sound to them. When you arrive at a point in your sermon that you think would be particularly interesting or offensive to non-Christians, pause and explain it in greater detail. When you do so, explicitly address non-Christians. You can say something like, “If you’re not a Christian, I wonder what you think about that last point…”

How can expositional preaching be evangelistic?

9Marks
It is evangelistic. God’s Word is what converts sinners (Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet 1:23). Faithfully preaching God’s Word week after week exposes dead sinners to the only source of spiritual life: God’s Word. So expositional preaching is inherently evangelistic.

What’s this “sermon application grid” that 9Marks keeps talking about?

9Marks

In his sermon preparation, Mark Dever uses what he calls an “application grid” as a tool to help him think how each point of the sermon relates to the rest of redemptive history, the person and work of Christ, and how it applies to different categories of hearers. Download an application grid: Blank | Completed Sample

What are the different “stations of life” a preacher should keep in mind when applying the text?

9Marks
Age.  Speak to children, adults, and seniors. Marital status/family situation. What does your text say to singles, young couples, couples with grown children, barren couples, divorcees, single moms, widows, and so on? Employment. Does your text have any application for homemakers, for employers, for workaholics, for people who aren’t happy with their jobs, for the unemployed?

What are different spiritual categories of hearers a preacher should have in mind when applying the text?

9Marks

You should strive to apply your sermons to both

How can a preacher apply a text to the church as a whole?

9Marks
Look for ways to teach and affirm biblical commands about what the church does when it gathers. Look for opportunities to teach the congregation about their individual responsibilities to one another in daily Christian living. Look for ways to promote trust in the church’s leadership.

Can a preacher apply the meaning of a text to hundreds of different hearers? Isn’t that the Holy Spirit’s job?

9Marks

The important thing to consider here is the preacher’s work compared to the Holy Spirit’s work.

Can a preacher really preach a whole book in one expositional sermon? If so, how?

9Marks

Suppose your friend asks you to summarize a two-hour movie you just saw. You could do that in five minutes or less. You would summarize the movie’s contents, emphasize what the movie is about, and by pointing to key moments in the movie.

Must a preacher’s homiletical outline match his exegetical outline?

9Marks

Not necessarily. An expositional sermon should explain and apply the main point of a passage of Scripture. If a preacher is able to derive his homiletical outline directly from his exegetical outline, so much the better. This often allows the congregation to better see the structure of a passage.

Are manuscripts preferable to outlines or notes?

9Marks

Not necessarily. Do whatever works for you.

The advantage of writing out a full manuscript before preaching a sermon (whether or not you take that manuscript into the pulpit) is that writing is the evidence of thought. Writing down everything you intend to say will sharpen your thoughts and force you to be clearer and more precise than you would have been otherwise.

How do you prepare to preach an expositional sermon? What steps are involved?

9Marks

Different preachers will develop slightly different ways of preparing sermons, which is fine. Do what works for you. That said, here are some steps that should be involved in the preparation of any expositional sermon.