How do you prepare your sermons, daily devotionals and studies?
- Well it all starts with prayer, and Bible reading.
- Then when a certain idea, or Bible verse comes to mind I will read that verse a few times.
- Then I will read the part of the Bible where the verse is included a few times to get the idea of the context of the verse
- For the same reason I also read the entire chapter.
- When I have a good idea of the context the actual work starts
I will use a similar way of investigating the verse as journalists do when they write a news article and that is finding answers on the questions Who? What? Where? How? and Why?
Some of the questions that may come up are
▪︎ Who wrote the text?
▪︎ Who is the text written to?
▪︎ Who is the text written for?
▪︎ Who plays an important role in the text?
▪︎ Does the text present a history, a story, a parable, a poem, a prophecy, a letter?
▪︎ What does the writer mean by this text?
▪︎ What is the superficial message of the text?
▪︎ What is the deeper message of the text?
▪︎ What happens in the text?
▪︎ Which application can be given to the text?
▪︎ Is the text written for the Jewish people and can it only serve as a (warning) example for us, or is it written in such a way that it is also directly addressed to us, and/or to us?
▪︎ Where does the text take place?
▪︎ What does the text point out to us?
▪︎ How did the written text work out?
▪︎ How could it work out in our lives?
▪︎ How can I make the message clearer?
▪︎ Why did the writer write this?
▪︎ Why did it happen?
After I have made this clear to myself, I will check if I know of an incident or a story that I could use for clarification.
When this is done, the message is broadly ready, and I can make the rough layout.
But I’m far from ready…
First I would like to know the deeper meaning of the words used in the text, for which I refer to the Greek and Hebrew root texts. (Often names have a meaning, and per example a word like “servant” is often translated from a word that actually means “slave” etc. etc.).
Next, before I finalize it, I want to compare what I have so far, with what the thoughts of others were on this text, and for this I consult various study Bibles and commentaries.
Obviously not everything can be used for a concise study or reflection, like the devotionals on the website, and so I will have to make a selection from what I had worked out.
As you can see, it is quite a bit of work to post something daily.
I hope this answers your question.