Prepare Sermon



By the end of this module you should be able to prepare a sermon from a Bible passage in your Mother Tongue Bible.

How many of you, have been preaching to your mother tongue congregations using a Bible in a different language? Would I be right to say that you had to translate and explain long passages into your mother tongue?

When you first use your mother-tongue Bibles, you may feel that you no longer have anything to preach about, since you don’t have to translate and explain anymore. Have any of you experienced what I am talking about here?

One church leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo said that he did not like using the mother-tongue Scriptures because they were too clear! Nothing much to explain, he said. This module will help you to prepare a sermon using your Mother Tongue Bible.

As you may know, there are two sorts of sermons: sermons based on one Bible passage, where the preacher goes systematically through the passage and draws out truths and applications for the congregation, and sermons that are on a topic, the preacher using many different passages to teach one particular subject. This module will help you to prepare a sermon based on a Bible passage.

Introduction to preaching a sermon

Today we are going to look particularly at preaching from a Bible passage. One way of looking at sermon preparation is to think of it as having 3 parts:

  1. An introduction: This should make your congregation want to hear the sermon, and tell them what the subject is;
  1. The main part: This is usually subdivided into 3 or 4 parts;
  2. The conclusion: This summarizes what you have said, and also shows the hearers how to apply what they have heard in their everyday lives.

    So how do we actually make up a sermon? These steps may help you:

    Preparing a sermon:

        1. Study your Mother-Tongue Bible. As you study the Bible, you will get ideas for sermons. Keep notes of these, as you may use the idea at a later date.
  1. You will be ready to preach the sermon on that particular passage when either:

    • You come to this passage as the set reading for the next Sunday

    • Or you are preaching through a book, and this is the next passage

    • Or the passage speaks about something that you think is the right sermon for your church at this time.

  2. Read the passage carefully and decide on the main subject.

    Tip: All good sermons have one main subject.

    Note: The passage should be no longer than a chapter, and may well be less.

  3. Read the passage again, and see how this main subject is explained.

    Although some passages have 3 or 4 clear ideas that explain the main point; others (such as parables, for example) consist of a detailed explanation of a single subject followed by the application. With some parables, it is difficult to find separate points.

  4. Think of illustrations from your life, the life of others, and from the Bible to make these points clear.

    You may use your local folk stories. These can be very good and the congregation will listen very attentively, but make sure they do illustrate the point, and that they do not take up too much of the sermon.

  5. Think how you are going to move from the first idea through the other ideas, always remembering the main point.
  6. Think about the conclusion.

    This should include something for both Christians and non-Christians, and might include:

    • An action you want them to take (decision to believe, decision to tell a non-Christian neighbour about Christ etc.)

    • Some main idea to think about all week

  7. Make an introduction for the sermon.

The introduction must do two things:

• Get them to listen to you. Remember that many people in the church will be thinking about all sorts of other things at the beginning of your sermon! You need to attract their attention with something like a question, a proverb, a personal experience etc.

• Give them an idea what you are going to talk about so that they can easily follow your points.

Note: Why not write your introduction first? Many people prefer to write it last after they know what the sermon will say.


Now we are going to apply the instructions above to a particular passage.

Read James 2: 14-26 through twice. Then fill up the following sheet.

Sermon outline for any passage:

  1. What is the main theme of this passage?


  2. How is the main theme/subject explained? List some points if this seems possible for the passage.

  3. What is a good illustration of this main teaching? (choose your answer from a Bible story for this session)

  4. Write notes for the conclusion, including an application for both Christians and non-Christians.

  5. Now think about the introduction. Write down your opening sentence.

When you have finished please compare your work with answers on the feedback sheet provided at the end of Module 2: Practice Sermon.