How many reference books consult to write 1 sermon

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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 20 2018 4:51 PM

Jack Caviness:
The absolute worst—and most pathetic—form of deception is self-deception.
Jack Caviness:
The absolute worst—and most pathetic—form of deception is self-deception.

My friend is ~ 5-7 years younger than you, and has been a Christian for 40+ years.  I thought he would understand that a pastor builds a sermon, given enough time that week, to respect God, His word, and nourish the folks listening.

And this guy may understand the above.  Sometimes, he seems to take a debating position [as I see it], to determine what I have to say.  This apparent thesis is hard to tell from a heart-felt position he may hold.  I discuss the issue from my real position, so I sometimes feel like I am in an alternate universe.  But, he's older than I am, so I show some respect.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 20 2018 5:26 PM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Thankful for Faithlife applications and apps having ability to hide uninspired Chapter and Verse numbers.

I agree with you however I have over the years heard numerous preachers talk about them almost like they are a divinely inspired thing. I know lunacy but there are those out there who have codes and systems worked out and if the layout count of the KJV is disturbed their elaborate house of cards falls down. Apologies if any are out there with these feelings I will admit there are at least some happy coincidences but I wouldn't callout divine inspiration any more than shakespeare translating his name into one of the Psalms is inspired.

-dan

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 20 2018 5:51 PM

I usually know where I'll be next week, this week. Or have a good idea of it. I'm open to change if something comes through the week. But in general, I start with scripture sunday, read it morning, and night, likewise for any other relevant scripture to the sermon (eg if there are other parallel accounts, or if a subject, person, issue of theology has a couple of major passages that discuss it, etc - those are read twice sunday too.

Monday, I just do my normal weekly devotions in scripture. Tuesday I read all the relevant passages again, and begin reading as widely as I can on any questions that have come up through the two readings. I continue this on weds, and add in any relevant sermons from like minded preachers. I usually have an outline sketched here as well.

Then Thursday I listen to sermons, and read books from positions contrary to mine. Eg if we were in revelation, and I was post mil, or dispensational pre-mil, I might read the a mill (or dispie, or post mil) take on the passage.

Friday morning, I write out a manuscript.

Saturday I revise it back down to as few pages as I can, and sunday morning I highlight key words and phrases to aid my memory.


Now If I'm approaching the end of the series, I'll start reading wider, Often as not, my time spent reading the word for my personal growth each day triggers the next series. But not always.

As to how many books, it takes as many as it takes. I've had weeks where a study bible and the holy spirit spurred my thinking to the point where I was confident in the sermon. But most weeks thats not the case.

Some sermons fall in my lap, and others I wrestle with for weeks before I'm happy with them.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 3:53 AM

scooter:
My friend is ~ 5-7 years younger than you, and has been a Christian for 40+ years.

Some of us antiques can be frustrating in any discussion Stick out tongue

scooter:
Sometimes, he seems to take a debating position [as I see it], to determine what I have to say.

Has your friend pondered the question—"If reading an English translation is all we need to interpret the Bible, why did the Lord gives us teachers?" (Ephesians 4:7-16). 

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JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 5:12 AM

Jack Caviness:
Has your friend pondered the question—"If reading an English translation is all we need to interpret the Bible, why did the Lord gives us teachers?" (Ephesians 4:7-16).

Yes

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Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 5:58 AM

Jack Caviness:

scooter:
He came back, essentially, with the belief that a person should read the pure word of God, so to have nothing between one and God.

Later you indicated that your friend consults English translation(s). He doesn't want reference works, but he allows a translation committee to come between himself and the "pure word of God." 

If you understand the historical situation, the culture, and the  language as it was to the original readers of the text, then you can forego reference works. Otherwise, you have become a fountain of false interpretation. I live in the Southeast US, so I have seen multitudes of well-meaning church people led astray by pastors and teachers who claimed that they had no need for anyone to teach them. All they needed was a "King James Bible" to understand the truth. 

The absolute worst—and most pathetic—form of deception is self-deception.

At a church I pastored I had a group of mostly senior adults that included one wonderfully dedicated church member, who was also very dedicated to reading his bible. I often admired his ability to recognize and retain even the smallest of facts from a verse, passage, or book of the bible. I said something during the study that he said contradicted what the bible says. He was even a little angry about it. When I asked him to show me, he turned his bible toward me and pointed to the Scofield note on the passage we were discussing. I am not sure if that was the first time he had been told that his Scofield notes were not inspired text, or if he just assumed that if Scofield said it it "must" be true. 

The text of scripture must be paramount in any sermon or lesson. However, we have to realize that before we can accurately preach a text in an accurate and meaningful way, we must understand what the correct meaning of that text is. There can be only one correct meaning; what the original author intended when he wrote it.

What did the original author say?

What did he mean by what he said?

What did he or other biblical writers say elsewhere about the same event or topic?

How did the original hearers or readers understand what was said?

How does the text apply to our culture?

How does it apply to me?

I feel the need to try and answer each of those questions before I preach or teach. I cannot effectively do that simply reading the 3-5 English translations I use during the my sermon / lesson prep.

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Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 6:54 AM

scooter:
In very general terms, as a pastor, how many books do you consult for each sermon?  How long does it take to write the weekly sermon, on average??

To answer this question...

3-5 Bibles in the first stage of reading/rereading and outlining.

2-3 Lexicons or dictionaries for words studies

5+ commentaries (mostly to test the conclusions I've already come up with in the first two phases)

1-2 atlases when appropriate

Logos cross references

So total is about 12-20.

Reasons

1. I'm not a Greek or Hebrew expert

2. I'm not an expert on ancient culture

3. I'm desperately fallible and need the help of the Christian community from today and yesterday to help test my theological conclusions.

4. God is sovereign and can inspire ideas in someone who studied ideas hundreds of years ago knowing I would need that information in 2018, meaning God is bigger than the god that people like your friend worship because they think he's limited by time and geography.

Time taken...

2-15 hours depending on how much I have studied a passage in the past, how long I need to speak (sometimes I'm prepping a short 5 minute devotion and sometimes an hour long Bible study and sometimes I preach a passage I've studied a dozen times or more and sometimes I preach passages I've never preached and only read devotionally.

Posts 263
Greg Corbin | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 7:34 AM

In terms of how much study I put into each sermon, that is difficult because I study over multiple weeks for each message. I will say that I typically study 20 hours per week or more for sermon prep - but I might work on parts of two or three sermons during that time. Bringing one to completion for preaching that week.

As for additional resources, it does vary according to the text I am preaching, my previous study on the passage, theological/exegetical issues with the passage, etc. Here would be an "average" for each sermon prepared....

5-7 translations

10-15 commentaries

3-5    Greek & Hebrew language resources - lexicons, dictionaries, etc

4  Study Bibles

2  Bible dictionaries / encyclopedias

Posts 37
Gail | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 7:52 AM

I’m not a pastor but, for my personal Bible study, I think it’s best to work out what I think a passage is saying before turning to resources other than the Bible. But I do realise that I am somewhat blinded by my own background and beliefs, so I think it is also crucial to read things from other perspectives and pray that the Holy Spirit will help me discern what is true.

I really appreciated this post of MJ’s a couple of years ago: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/126722.aspx

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 8:46 AM

while a single resource something like Feasting on the Word shows four perspectives are likely important in inspiring a good sermon. The set provides for each reading commentarit’s that examines the theological, pastoral, exegetical, and homiletical challenges of the text. Every pastor will be different as we have seen by the above messages but the consensus seem firm... No one is an island, our dependace on the cloud of witnesses both living in the flesh and now only in Spirit strengthens how we we communicate God‘s message. 

-dan

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 8:54 AM

Fredc:
I said something during the study that he said contradicted what the bible says. He was even a little angry about it. When I asked him to show me, he turned his bible toward me and pointed to the Scofield note on the passage we were discussing. I am not sure if that was the first time he had been told that his Scofield notes were not inspired text, or if he just assumed that if Scofield said it it "must" be true. 

Been there, but in my case, it was a very opinionated lady.

Posts 370
James Chandler | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 21 2018 10:24 AM

I read an article that has about 70% of pastors take 15-16 hours a week to do a sermon.

Mark Dever tops it out at 32-52 hours per week.

John MacArthur close behind at 32 hours, however, he does it all by hand. It's possible Dever does the same, the article didn't say.

Piper, Keller and few others stated about 15-16 hours per week.

Keller recommends 6-8 for new pastors. There other responsibilities new pastors need to see to.

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