Know Your Text.
I get pretty excited when I am given a particular Scripture passage I must preach through for a congregation. Some free willy guys might think they are so how restraint by this manner of preaching, but I really think it gives me a precise target to hit. My goal from the point I am given my text, is to be the expert on that passage when I walk up the pulpit. How do you become the expert?
Read it multiple times. Yep. Believe it or not, you kind’a need to take the time to read it and I mean out loud. How long does it take to read five or fifteen verses? Am I focusing on a portion of this passage or a particular teaching in a larger portion? I like to read it from the ESV and then turn around and find my kid’s Bible and read it from there as well. Why read it so many times? Simply, because I want to know the passage. I want to know what the author is trying to say and possibly hear it in his voice. Also, why not get a good audio version on your iPhone and listen to the Bible passage read by someone else before you go to bed several times. When you have heard it and have read it many times, you will definitely be confident when you preach it.
Memorize it. Sounds a little ridiculous or is it? Awanas kids memorize two verses and get a plastic toy,…what would it say to your congregation if you read it so many times, that it naturally flows from your lips or in your thoughts as you prepare. What I am not saying is,…standing up on Sunday and sounding like a robot so you can impress the crowd. That is arrogance and just plain distracting…what I am saying is you have it so in your head that when writing the outline or progressive exposition, it flows so naturally because you know where the story is going.
Visualize it. So I am huge visual and auditory learner, but nothing helps me more to expertly learn a passage, but to DIAGRAM the sentences. Yes, I am talking 7th Grade Mrs. Helms class diagraming. No helps, just start drawing your subject, verbs, and prepositions. Suddenly it has simplified the whole passage to a few words, you can see on a single sheet of paper. Last thing, I draw a picture. Ok, you aren’t an artist like me. I got it. You draw stick figures and arrows. Who cares?!?! See if you can actual put the concepts you are talking about through the scrutiny of a whiteboard drawing. Use colors to represent ideas or nouns. Use arrows to show action or movements. As you connect these in your brain,…explain the passage to yourself by just using the imagery.
Teach your kids before Sunday Morning. At the dinner table share the passage in a dinner time sharing time WITHOUT your BIBLE. Talk through the concepts and ideas, or the story. See if you can take the questions and inquisitiveness of young hearts. They quite possibly have never heard any of it. Plus, they see you investing in them, BEFORE the congregation.
Experts are not born, they are developed.