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How To Prepare Bible Messages
In his book, How To Prepare Bible Messages, James Braga presents three principal types of biblical sermons and discusses the mechanics of constructing these three types of sermons.
In part one of his book, he looks very closely at the topical sermon, the textual sermon and the expository sermon, which of course are the three principal types of biblical sermons.
James Braga goes to great lengths to help preachers understand what a topical sermon looks like, what a textual sermon looks like and what an expository sermon looks like.
He gives very clear definitions of a topical sermon, textual sermon and expository sermon.
Braga states that a topical sermon is a sermon in which the main divisions of the sermon are derived from the topic, independently of a text (Braga 21).
According to James Bragaís definition, a textual sermon is one in which the main divisions of the sermon are derived from a text of Scripture consisting of a small portion only. Each of these divisions is then utilized as a line of suggestion and the text of Scripture itself provides the central theme of the sermon (Braga 35).
The expository sermon, as referred to by James Braga, is one in which a passage of Scripture is interpreted in relation to one central theme or subject. The sermon is then drawn from the passage of Scripture and the outline of the sermon is a series of progressive ideas centered around the main idea (Braga 53).
The Topical Sermon
To understand the structure of a topical sermon, Braga suggests an example is the best way to go.
The topical sermon begins with a biblical topic or theme and the main divisions of the sermon consists ideas from that subject. By the way, this does not mean a topical sermon is not biblical. All it means is that the topic of the sermon is not sourced from a text of Scripture.
You may want to preach on The Reason For Unanswered Prayer. Now this is a biblical topic; however, it was not sourced from a text of Scripture. Once you have your topic, you will need to draw out the main points from the Scriptures.
The Scriptures tell us that there are several reasons why prayer may remain unanswered, such as asking amiss (James 4:3), having sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18), doubting Godís word (James 1:6-7), involving vain repetition (Matthew 6:7), disobeying the word of God (Proverbs 28:9) and having inconsiderate behaviour toward your spouse (1 Peter 3:7).
Principles For Preparation
In How To Prepare Bible Messages, James Braga discusses eight (8) basic principles for the preparation of topical sermon outlines.
First, the main divisions must be in logical or chronological order. In other words, as the main points unfold, they need to have progression; that is, a logical flow to them.
For example, your topical may look like this: Vital Truths Concerning Jesus Christ. The three vital truths concerning Jesus Christ are: 1) He is God manifested in the flesh, 2) He is the Savior of mankind (1 Timothy 1:15) and He is the coming King (Revelation 11:15). This outline has a natural, chronological flow. Jesus was born, he died to be Savior and he is coming soon as King (Braga 25).
Second, the main divisions of the sermon may be an analysis of the topic. By analysing a topic, you break the sermon down into several parts and each part contributes to the completeness of the message.
For example, the main facts in the Bible concerning Satan are: 1) His origin (Ezekiel 28:12-17), his fall (Isaiah 14:12-15), his power (Ephesians 6:11-12), his activity (2 Corinthians 4:4, Luke 11:14-18) and his destiny (Matthew 25:41).
Third, the main divisions of the topical sermon may present the various proofs of a topic. For example, the values of knowing Godís word are: 1) it makes one wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), it keeps one from sin (Psalm 119:11), it produces spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:3) and it results in successful living (Joshua 1:7-8).
Fourth, the main divisions of a topical sermon outline may treat a subject by analogy or contrast with something else in Scripture. For example, the comparison between a believer and salt consists of the following: 1) Like salt, the believerís testimony should season, 2) should purify, 3) should not lose its savor and 4) should create thirst (Braga 27).
Fifth, the main divisions may be expressed by a certain fixed word or phrase. For example, the things God is able to do are: he is able to save, he is able to keep, he is able to help, he is able to subdue, he is able to give grace and he is able to do beyond what we as or think (Braga 27).
You will find more principles for topical sermon preparation by purchasing James Braga's Book - How To Prepare Bible Messages.
Christ Centered Preaching: Christ Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell is a book on Expositional preaching - This is a brief summary of the information found in chapter 2.
Free Topical Sermons: Free Topical Sermons are a growing collection of topical sermons from the Bible. Topical sermons are usually constructed from a biblical principle or truth.
How To Preach Without Notes: In How To Preach Without Notes, Charles W Koller discusses the processes required to put together sermon notes in order to give preachers freedom in the pulpit.
How To Write Sermon Content: How to write sermon content provides an example of putting sermon content to a sermon outline from Philippians 4:10-23.
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How To Prepare Bible Messages by James Braga