Chapter 5

The Main Point of a Passage Should Not Always Be the Main Point of Your Sermon

Use a sub-point or the author's logic as the main point of your sermon.

I recall back in my homiletics class the professor instructing us in the art of exegetical preaching. The point of exegetical preaching, we were told, was to find the main point of the passage and then to make that point the main point of our sermon. If Paul's main point in Romans 3 was that all have sinned, then the main point of our exegetical sermon on Romans 3 should be that all have sinned. This is pretty standard instruction in circles that emphasize exegetical preaching.

I'm a firm believer in exegetical preaching. And generally, I think this is sound advice. But is it always the case that the main point of the passage should be the main point of one's sermon? Didactic passages of Scripture have a logical flow to them; they drive toward a conclusion—be it ethical or theological. And narrative passages likewise have a specific reason for being included in a given text. Grasping the conclusion of a didactic passage or the reason for a narrative passage's inclusion ...

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