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How to Preach

Julian Spriggs M.A.

I: Two Approaches to Preaching

These are a series of pages describing the process of preparing a message to preach, or lead a small group Bible study. They are particularly designed for people who have a desire to preach the Word of God, and want to learn how to do it.

What is the difference between teaching and preaching?

There is much debate over this question, with many different opinions being expressed. Teaching and preaching have a great deal of overlap between them, but there is a subtle difference in purpose.

Preaching is the proclamation of the Word of God with the intention to change people’s lives. The aim is to bring people to a point of decision, to make a response to what they have heard. A preacher often desires to see an immediate response to the message. As the Word of God is proclaimed, we trust that the Holy Spirit will make that Word alive in people’s hearts, so they have an encounter with God. Preaching should make the listeners aware of the need they have in their lives, and of the reality of God’s provision in Jesus.

Teaching is more informative, when instruction from the Word of God is given, together with an explanation. The goal is often not so immediate, as it is with preaching, but has the aim of informing and motivating people. The teacher will lead people into greater knowledge of God’s Word, and how to apply it into their lives. Teaching tends to be more factual, but still needs to be relevant to people’s lives. The teacher aims to lay a solid foundation, so people can live effective Christian lives. The goal of teaching is to feed the sheep.

These are links to other pages in this section:

I: Two approaches

A brief description of the two main ways of using the Bible in preaching: teaching a theme, or expounding a passage.

II: Study the passage

Some practical instructions of how to select a passage and carry out your own personal study on it, as you prepare to preach, or lead a small group Bible study. The aim is to determine its meaning to the original readers and draw out timeless principles which can be applied today.

III: Message outline

Guidelines of how to take the timeless principle from the text and construct an outline for a message. This page gives a helpful format which can be used to design an outline for a variety of different types of message.

IV: Relevant preaching

How do you make your preaching relevant to the people listening? This page gives a list of subjects which cause concerns in the lives of many people.

V: Presentation

Bad presentation can ruin a good message. This page gives some practical suggestions for effective public speaking.

VI: Critiquing

This is a list of things to look for if you are in the position of teaching other people how to preach.

Small group Bible study

How do you lead a small group Bible study in a home-group? The key is asking good questions.

I: Two Approaches to Preaching