First published on this website in September 2010 and last updated in July 2020
These notes seek to identify and ask the kind of questions that would help a teacher or preacher preparing a talk or sermon on a Bible passage.
Forty questions are listed with one line of comment on each. They are grouped into four sections of ten questions each:
- Bible search
- Personal application
The idea is not to set an agenda that has to be slavishly followed, but to introduce the idea of asking questions to help preparation and to apply some general principles of communication. Please email me with suggestions to add to or amend this list for future revisions.
To give a flavour, here are the first five questions under the 'Bible search' heading:
- What does this passage actually say?
- What is the headline message of this passage?
- How is the passage structured?
- What can I see, hear, feel, smell and taste as I read this?
- What does it teach about Father, Son or Holy Spirit?
Here is the link to this item: TN56 - Questions for preachers.pdf
I have adapted these Notes on their biannual revisions (July 2020 being the most recent) in the light of comments received from those who have read them on the website and the shift to streaming and recording services. I am grateful to all who have suggested improvements - and welcome further ideas.
One Minister wisely wrote: "I have often noticed that preachers (from occasional pulpiteers to Bishops!) will use a passage as a jump-off point for their own hobby-horse, rather than an opportunity to open up to the congregation what God now says through his Word.
We need to switch off our previous readings and read a passage as if for the first time, trying to enter into the mindset of its writer and original hearers/readers.
This is where it is useful to have access to the original languages, but if we do not have those skills, then we need to have access to a variety of translations."