How to Prepare For More Topics
Most people struggles on what to write. After making a sermon, many of them do not know what comes next. Where are they going to get the next lesson? This a very common problem especially if a preaching student depends so much on the tools that he has. Furthermore, he will have the same problem if he just copy the work of others.
From my own experience, I began to see more things to discuss when I started not to depend on the works of others and from the tools available. I am not saying that I do not use any more tools because I do use them. But the more you work on your study, more open doors for ideas will be opened.
Using the tools is totally different from depending on it. Using the tools will enhance your knowledge of the passage that you are studying. On the other hand, depending on it is simply copying what were written in the tools that you are using and you do not even mind on meditating on it anymore. People who do this will always find it difficult making their sermon.
Now, how are we going to make more possible topics. It is always better to plan ahead of time. As I said, the more you dig, the more you learn, and more doors for topics will be opened.
I am so much fun of making a series of sermons. Not only that it saves me time in studying, it also gives me more time to concentrate on one topic with different sub topics. Getting more sub topics will also give me more sermons to preach. There are some techniques that you can do to plan for more topics. Here are some tips.
- If you are a pastor and frequently preaches (or at least three times a month) to your church, I suggest that you “walk through the Bible”. This is the most common technique in planning for your topics. You will not have to worry in thinking what you are going to preach. All you have to do is to choose a book to study, and little by little, passage by passage, you will just allow the Bible to tell you the next sub topic that you are going to preach.
- If you will be given a chance to preach for one week of activities, then it will be very helpful to know the theme of the event. From it, you check the Topical Bible to see the related topics about the theme and the passages. It will also be helpful if you have an Exhaustive Concordance for it will help you discover more passages related to the theme.
- While studying your first sermon, look at some of the keywords and topics that will come out from your study. If it is pretty much related to what you have just discussed, then it can be a possible new topic. And that depends on your desire to study further about your chosen topic.
How To Study
You now have the tools and the topics for your study, but how are we going to do it step by step? Here’s a simple 4 step guide in making an inductive Bible Study. It can be summarized as P-R- O-W.
Pray – Read – Observe – Write
As I said, it is very difficult to study God’s word without a prayer. Pray and ask God for wisdom in understanding the passage. Pray that your study will be helpful and will become a blessing to your future listeners. Pray that God will be with you as you study it all the way through on delivering it.
Read the passage several times until you understand it. Most of the time, you will not be able to understand the passage by reading it only once. It will take you at least 3 times of reading the same passage with concentration before understanding what it really says. Do not hesitate to read it more than three times if you still do not understand what it says.
Look for “Key words” in the passage. Most of the time, keywords are so easy to spot. Keywords are words that helps you understand the main idea and other ideas. Keywords are sometimes repeated within the passage. “ Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities—all is vanity. What profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3)”.
Sometimes they are a part of an enumeration of the writer. “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)”
Sometimes they cannot be seen but the passage can be summarized in just one idea. “I know that, whatsoever God does, it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it nor anything taken from it—and God does it, that men should fear before Him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)” Do you see faith as the topic in it?
Look for the “Key phrases” in the passage. Key phrases are almost the same with key words. The only difference is that key words are just single word and phrases are composed of words with one main idea.
Mark the conjuctions and strong statements. Conjunctions like “But”, “Furthermore”, “Since”, “Because”, “However”, etc are usually significant especially if it starts the sentence. For example: “But” tells us that there is a contrast from the previous statements. The word “Furthermore” tells us that the author is adding something from his previous statements.
Taking note of the tenses of the verbs and the kind of sentences used are also helpful in understanding the passage. Tenses will tell you if that actions are taking place, will take place, or have taken place. While the kind of sentence used will tell you the mood of the writer while saying it and what does he wants you to understand or accomplish.
Write down the main idea that you have just seen. Before you forget what you have just seen, write it down including the supporting ideas of the main idea. This will also help you organize the things that you have seen.
Rewrite the main idea so as making a title. Try to furnish your main idea so that it will give more clarity to your audience what your sermon will be all about. As we have mentioned earlier, a good title should not be less than 2 words but not more than 5 words.
Similarly rewrite the supporting ideas of the main idea so as making each point. There are several creative ways in rewriting your supporting ideas. You can start your supporting ideas by using your title. For example, your title is; “What Heaven Is Like?”. So your supporting ideas can be; “Heaven is like a…”.
There are times that you may want to use acronyms. Just like what we did in our 4 Step Inductive Bible Study. To ease the memorization steps of Inductive Bible Study, we come up to four simple summary of words that will help you remember it easily. P-R-O-W, which means Pray, Read, Observe, and Write.
Write your application and make a summary of all of them. We already have discussed what is an application and what is a conclusion. After seeing all things in the passage and have written the main body of your sermon manuscript, then it is time to summarize it. State there what do you see that the Lord wants you and your hearers to do, and re-enforcing what you have discussed by repeating your main points.
Asking the Right Questions
I keep on reminding all the people that I am teaching both in Preaching and in leading Outreach Bible Study that; “Right questions will lead you to the right answers.” There will be times when it is harder to understand what you are studying. In times like this, a better way to understand it is by asking the right questions.
For 2 years of discipling people, I have seen that most people find it very difficult in composing right questions. In fact, it took me more time training them how to ask the right questions than training them in leading an actual Bible study.
But what are the right questions and how do we know it is good?
- A right question starts with the basic “WH” questions.
- A right question will lead you to direct answer found in the passage that you are studying.
- A right question will not mislead you to other topics.
- A right question will help you understand the passage better.
- A right question will give you more details about your topic which are found in your passage.
So there you have it, a simple guide for a simple inductive Bible study.
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