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Set Free from the Cookie Cutter

How the text can form the sermon

Set Free from the Cookie CutterSee theme

When we first learn to preach, we need to learn a form to pour our sermons into, such as a three-point, subject-complement outline. But as we mature in our preaching, we need more flexibility in our sermon forms to stay out of the rut. We need to learn to let the text form the sermon, instead of vice versa.

Genre and the form of a sermon

The first step in that direction, of course, is to fully understand the text. You can talk about exegesis, and it can sound cold. Sometimes when people think of exegesis, they think of analyzing words and phrases. But basically what you're trying to do when you exegete a text is to really understand it—understand its flow of thought, how the author is developing that thought.

So when I come to didactic literature, such as Romans or Galatians, I analyze how the thought develops because there tends to be a logical flow. I get to a parable and I can't do that. The danger is to go to an epistle and see that Paul has three moves in a particular paragraph ...

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Displaying 1–4 of 4 comments

Yolanda

December 05, 2012  9:38am

Amen, very inspiring article. My heart cry is for The Lord to cause my heart to love more deeply. Forgive more readily and to deepen my awareness of His mercy for other. We as the body has to be a safe place of healing and not condemnation.

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Paulson Pulikottil

January 05, 2012  1:14am

I am trained on the three-point structure, but have always questioned it. Now, I have a rational and practical explanation why this three-point neatly outlined stuff doesn't work. Thanks for the clarity!

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Marcos Pazymino

November 16, 2010  8:32am

As a new pastor, I gained new insights by reading Dr. Robinson's article. I intend to follow his advice.

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Jimmy Orr

November 15, 2010  2:32pm

Although it would have made this article prohibitively long, it would have been more helpful if Dr. Robinson had given sermonic examples (or at least excerpts) of the suggestions he makes in the article.

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