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How does one present clear exegesis in the preaching of the word without boring the audience to tears?  This is not an easy task.

First, the preacher must be clear on the idea of what is important in the text selected for sermon.  This means that the preacher has studied the structure of the author’s argument or plot and has come up with an outline based on the main clauses of the text.  For narrative, the places where the story starts and finish create good boundaries for meaning and the sermon should somehow follow the plot of the story.  The main clause is especially important in creating outlines for New Testament letters. For those who are rusty with their Greek, the main clauses is the clause that contains an indicative or imperative and is independent of other clauses.  This demands a lot of study time.  Even someone as seasoned as John R. W. Stott has to spend an average of twenty hours for sermon preparation.  He claims that the hours have not lessened through the years.  This shows that sermon preparation is hard work.

Second, the preacher must turn the outline into a more applicable language in order to use the same outline for the audience.  Many expositional preachers take their outlines straight from their study to the pulpit with disastrous results because of the archaic language of the text.  The average audience finds all of it very hard to digest.

Third, the preacher must simplify and cut ideas that are not important to the author’s MAIN point.  One frequent mistake new graduates from seminaries make is their overzealous pursuit of every minute detail of the text when preaching.  Some sermons have so many layers of sub-points that they are just impossible to follow.  This does not demonstrate the simplemindedness of the audience.  Rather, this mistake shows the lack of understanding of the author’s main point.  Simplicity is the demonstration of true understanding.

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