BL - 17 Homiletics



  Introduction                              Homiletics is a science that treats the composition of delivering sermons.  The study of homiletics enables the student to gain solid foundation in communication skills.  
  1. Objectives of Homiletics
   This subject enables the student not only to think logically but also to express preacher’s thoughts coherently and fluently to the listeners.  As a result of study of homiletics, the student  is also able to do the following:
  • Student gains self-confidence.
  • Student copes up with stage-fright.
  • Student is able to adapt to any kind of audience and occasions.
  1. The Power of Speech
                     Speech is a powerful weapon; both in the history of the world as well as in the Bible (Pro. 12 : 14).  Every one has a longing to sway the audience with his speaking.  In the history, Abraham Lincoln of America and Hitler of German were great speakers.  Many have accomplished their purpose by their power of speech. In the Bible, we have many examples of the power of speaking.  Ex. Speech of Nathan, the prophet convicted David.  Peter’s speech resuted in the conversion of 3000 people on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2)
  1. Secret of Effective Speaking
                     It will take to time to become Master in Public Speaking.  The most important element of good speech is “CONTENT” of speech.  What we say is far more important than How we say it.  What we say probably effects more people than any other action we do.
  1. Speech Pattern in Proverbs
                     The book of Proverbs sets forth four types of speeches, referring by tongue.
  1. Controlled Tongue / Speech
  People who have this speech pattern think before speaking.  They also know when silence is best and they give wise advice. Pro.10 : 14,19 ; 11 : 12,13; 12 : 16 ; 13 : 3 ; 15 : 1,4,28 ; 16 : 23 ; 17 : 14,27,28 ; 18 : 4 ; 24 : 26 ; 26 : 17.
  1. Caring Tongue / Speech
  Person who has this speech pattern speaks truthfully, while seeking to encourage others by his speech. Pro. 10 : 32 ; 12 : 18, 25 ; 15 : 23,26 ; 16 : 24 ; 25 : 15 ; 27 : 9 ; Eph. 4 : 15,16  
  • Conniving Tongue / Speech
  People who have this speech pattern speak false.  They are filled with wrong motives and they gossip, slander and twist truth. Pro. 6 : 12-14 ; 8 : 13 ; 16 : 28 ; 18 : 8 ; 25 : 18 ; 26 : 4,5,20-28 ; Phil. 1 : 17
  1. Careless Tongue / Speech
  People with this speech pattern speak lies, curses, quick tempered words. Prov. 10 : 18,32 ; 11 : 9 ; 12 : 16,18 ; 15 : 4 ; 17 : 9,14,19 ; 18 :21 ; 20 : 90 ; 25 : 23 ; Jam. 3 : 1-12 So a preacher must be always careful about his tongue.
  1. Basic Qualifications of a Christian Preacher
  1. He should believe the God of the Bible (Heb. 11 : 6).
  2. He should believe that the Bible is God’s word and it has life changing power – 2 Tim. 3 : 16-17.
  • He should have thirst for saving the souls – Rom. 10 : 1,14-18.
  1. He should be a diligent reader of God’s word, daily (Act. 17 : 11 ; Jn. 5 : 39).
  2. He should have blameless life before people (1 Tim. 3 : 1-7).
  3. He should not preach for money or wordly profit.
  1. Important Things-the Preacher to keep in mind
  1. Speak what is best and your conviction.
  2. Give attention to study of God’s word.
  • Collect imformation on current affairs, Literature, History, General knowledge that can be used in preaching.
  1. Understand the basics of psychology.
  2. Develop your own library – books on various titles, Bibles etc.
  3. Develop a filing system, where collected information may be kept in orderly fashion.
  • Organize your thinking (i.e.) what to speak, when to speak, where to speak, How to speak etc.
  • Never refuse an opportunity to speak (Preach).
  1. Self – Concept of Speaker
                     Self – concept of a preacher is related with preacher’s personality.  A preacher / speaker must have good self – concept (self – concept regarding his own personality).  Self – concept is determined by his thinking.  If speaker thinks right, his words and behaviour will be right.  Ex. When the speaker is ill-tempered, his speech may be influenced by it. Prov. 23 : 7a = As he thinks in his heart, so is he. Every preacher must think about himself that he is worth and talented in the sight of God.  However he should have balanced view about himself.  He should know his strengths and weaknesses. Speaker’s strength and weakness must be submitted to the rule of Holy Spirit through God’s word. Developing Self – Concept   If a speaker has poor self – concept about himself, he must develop his self-concept.  The following suggestions will help you to develop your self-concept.
  1. Know that you are an individual
  You are specially created by God. Ps. 139 : 13, 14.  You are the only original peace of your kind.  And you have certain ability which nobody else has.
  1. You should not try to “imitate” others.
“Be yourself”. Ex. David could not imitate Saul.  I Sam. 17 : 38-40  
  • Keep always your goal before you.
  Phil. 3 : 10 Phil. 4 : 8 – Think on good things. If you try to practice these things in your thinking and behaviour, you would certainly develop your self-concept.
  1. Pre-requisite to be a Speaker
  1. Have good knowledge over the subject you speak. Having knowledge of the subject will equip you with confidence to speak.
  1. Speak with confidence.
  A speaker must develop the courage to face the audience.  Don’t think that your audience sitting in front of you are your tormentors.
  • Practice well your public speaking skill.
Practice makes a man perfect.  There is no substitute for practice.  Use every opportunity that comes to you for public speaking.  This real experience will give you the best practice.
  1. Have determination to succeed.
  1. Be sincere of your purpose of becoming a Speaker.
  1. Maintain charming personality.
  A sincere interest in your audience and sympathetic understanding them will boost your personality.
  • Use Good Vocabulary
  Words are powerful.  So a speaker must develop his word power.  Vocabulary is like an armoury from which a speaker can use whatever weapons he likes to use according to the situations.
  1. Stage Fright
                     Stage Fright is one of the negative quality that hinders speaking skill.  The basic reasons for stage fear are
  • Lack of platform character (Qualification to be a speaker)
  • Lack of patience
  • Lack of preparation on the subject.
Every speaker must overcome his / her stage fright. Suggestions to cope with stage fright  
  1. Certain amount of stage-fright is necessary and useful. It is natures way of motivating us to meet the challenges of public-speaking.
  2. The more you use the opportunity, the more you will be able to cope up with stage-fear. So use every opportunity you get.
  • Gain yourself enough time to practive public speaking skill.
  1. Remember that your audience could not recognize your inner fears as you might-think. Your audience will not treat you as guilty to be punished even if you do poor.
  2. Permit and think only positive thinking about yourself before the opportunity to speak. (Think as following)
I am prepared, poised, persuasive, positive, powerful, composed, confident, convincing, commanding, compelling, effective, energetic, enthusiastic, enjoyable, imaginative, informative, instructive and impressive.
  1. Keep running your opening remarks through your mind.
You should know the first four or five sentences that you are going to speak in your opening.  You should speak those words without looking your notes.  This will help you to gain confience on the stage.
  • Pray for God’s strength to speak.
  • Act confident and speak boldly.
    • Look your audience straight in their eyes while speaking.
Suggestions to reduce physical Tension (Relaxation)  
  1. Sit in an executive posture on the stage (office posture on the chair).
  2. Breath in rythem (Breath smoothly and gently).
  • Have free body movements while speaking.
Ex. Have free hand movements and face movements while speaking.  
  1. Public Speaking Style
  1. Voice
  There is no instrument that can be compared with human voice.  A preacher must have good voice.  Every one can develop his voice through proper practive.  To practice voice, speaker must open his mouth and pronounce words clearly.  Moreover, he should be relaxed.  His throat must be kept straight to his neck.  Proper breathing is necessary to have good voice. While speaking, the voice must be clear, distinct, audible and pleasant. Note :  Dull, life-less, flat-tone of voice will make boredom to the audience.
  1. Gestures
  Body gestures are important because they are the non-verbal aspects of public speaking.  A single flash of the eye, a turn of the hand, a forward swing of the body may say more than all the words in our speech. Our body language is a non-verbal channel of our speech.  The verbal (words) and non-verbal (body language) channels must work together and  coherently. Therefore your gestures like eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, reinforce the message and impress its full meaning. Good gesture is always involuntary and spontaneous (natural), harmonious with verbal communication, and pleasant to the eyes of audience. Note :  If our body language is not coherent with our words (verbal language), the  message may be distorted.
  1. Eye – Behaviour (Eye-contact of speaker)
  Eye – contact between the speaker and the audience is very important.  If the speaker does not have eye-contact with listeners, the listeners will not receive his message. Ways to develop eye – contact  
  1. Important Things – a speaker must not do
  • Don’t try to look every member of audience in the eye.
  • Don’t try to look just over the head of your listeners; by avoiding true eye-contact; your audience will be fooled while speaking.
  • Don’t look one person all the time while speaking.
  1. Important Things – a speaker must do
  • Divide (in your mind) your audience into sections, according to their seating arrangement, than let-your eyes range and move from section to section – In each moving of your eye view, look different people from each sections.
  • Without choosing the same individual each time to look, do allow yourself to pickout individuals in the crowd.
  • Look them momentarily in the eye of and then move on to look into the eye of others.
  1. Physical Appearance
            Our physical appearance is more important.  People always decide about others on the basis of what they see outwardly.  (I  Sam. 16 : 7).  People look our cloth, hair-cut, etc.  So we should maintain good personal appearance before public, especially before audience. Suggestions to improve your appearance  
  1. Be clean and neat.
  2. Dress neatly. This does not mean to have costly dress, but dress moderately.
  • Do not have long hair.
  1. Your personal grooming must be tidy.
  1. Facial Expression
            The face is index of mind.  It is perhaps the most expressive part of our body.  It is estimated that the face is capable of expressing 25,000 different expressions; half of them non-verbal messages that we sent to others expressed from the face.  Certain facial expressions are common to all peole (Like – happiness, fear, excitement, sorrow etc. . .)  In preaching, our facial expression must be coherent with our verbal message. Ex. When one preach about joy or bliss of heaven, our face must express a smile of joy and happiness. Suggestions             In order to express natural facial expressions; you should keep the following in mind.
  1. Maintain a relaxed and pleasant expression.
  2. Be light-hearted and humerous.
  • Allow your facial muscles to remain relaxed, unstrained, pleasant to look at.
  1. Tight jaws and narrowed eyes all these express hostility, anger, strain and frustration; None of these should be expressed in the face of a speaker, except certain limited occasion.
  1. How to preside a Meeting
                     The success of any public meeting is often determined by the effectiveness with which the Chairman presides.  A good chairman does not say much and does not parade personality, yet his presence is felt by audience.  The audience sence his unobtrusive manner to control of the situation and they would appreciate and remember ever meetings presided by such a chairman.
  1. Important Duties of the chairman on Dais
  1. The very first duty of chairman is to take charge of meeting. He should hold the meeting according to the prepared program list.
  2. He should make the audience feel that all is going well and smoothly.
  • He should hold the audience’ attention by keeping the program moving.
    • If the Chairman is confused about program, the audience will be fidgety and the program will become boredom to them.
  1. He should discourage distraction.
Some people come to meeting to make trouble.  If such people feel that the chairman who presides meeting in command, they will not make any trouble.  When disturbance is noticed, do not immediately bark at the offender but politely control the situation.  The chairman can use some humor, without hurting anybody to discourage the distruction.
  1. Preparation before Presiding a Public Meeting
  The chairman or presiding officer or the Pastor in church must carefully prepare a program list before the beginning of meeting or worship service.  The following are some tips as to prepare a program list.
  1. First – determine the purpose of programme.
  2. Make a Time-schedule of programme.
Length of programme, time of speaker etc.  Tell the allotted time to each participant and the speaker.  Then only they can be aware of time allotted to them.
  • Acquaint yourself with the programme.
    • Know clearly, who is the speaker,
    • Who is going to do what role
    • Who is going to welcome, sing, pray etc.
  1. Carefully prepare the announcements to be made in the meeting.
  2. Write the programme schedule neatly on paper and keep it with you.
  3. Start the meeting promptly.
The above suggestions are applicable to any meeting including worship service in the church..
  1. Order of Worship Service
The order of worship service may vary from one denomination to another.  However, there could be some common factors in all.  Here we give a model for the order of worship service.  You can follow it in your service or you can alter it to suit your church, if it is necessary. Model service / worship order  
  1. Call to worship
    • This call can be given “Let us worship the Triune God” either with soft music or gentle and smooth singing in low voice or a preparatory prayer.
  1. Singing
    • Two (or) Three = worship songs that praise God for His love, mercy, grace, holiness, power etc.
  • Reading Psalms
    • Responsive Reading (Pastor and Congregation read verses alternate)
  1. Devotion
    • Hymn of Devotion
    • Prayer (Pastor or church members can pray)
Note : Some churches explain Psalm for devotion; some others sing but some praise God through prayer during devotion time.  
  1. Offering
    • Song for offering
    • Prayer for offering
  1. Message (30 minutes)
    • Reading of God’s word (church Members can read)
    • Preaching (Pastor or Special Preacher)
    • Prayer
  • Closing Session
    • Hymn (Related to message)
    • Prayer
    • Benediction (Usually II Cor. 13 : 14)
    • Soft music or Hymn before the believers go out of service.
  1. Sermon
  1. Types of Sermons
          There are various types of sermons.  All sermons should be based on scripture, verse, a portion of verse or number of verses of the Bible.
  1. Topical Sermon / Thought Sermon
In this sermon, a topic or thought is selected, based on God’s word.  Or you can choose a topic of Christian Life, then you can collect related verses from the Bible. Topic Sermon Titles (Example)           Faithfulness Hope Prayer
  1. Characteristic Sermon
In this sermon, a biblical character is studied.  Based on the life of that character, the sermon is prepared.  This is another type of topical sermon. Ex :   Moses           David Barnabas
  • Doctrinal Sermon
  In order to teach Christian doctrine and beliefs, this sermon is prepared.  This doctrinal sermon can be given in simple language so that laymen can understand Christian doctrines. Ex :   God. Second coming           New Life Regeneration
  1. Inspirational Sermon
  These types of Sermons are useful to stimulate and comfort the Christians.  This Sermon encourages the believers to servce the Lord and raise their zeal for Lord’s work. This sermons must be given on special days or special occasion and audience. Ex :   Spiritual occasion :  Young People Fellowship                                            Retreat and Camps Special days         :    New Year Day                                            Christmas Day Missionary Sunday
  1. Evangelistic Sermon
  The primary purpose is the conversion of sinners.  This sermon is suitable in village and house meetings.  However, this type of sermons must be given every now and then in the church too.
  1. Expository Sermon
  Expository Sermon expounds a portion of Bible text; by explaining the meaning based on original language (Hebrew / Greek) and the truth therein.  Expository may treat a book of the Bible, a chapter, a paragraph, a verse or a word of a verse.
  • Textual Sermon
  In this Sermon, the verses are just explained.
  1. Preparation of Sermon
  1. Primary Preparation
  Every Sermon must be carefully prepared from God’s word.  Sermon is not our message but we communicate God’s word in a way that audience can understand.  So we need to prepare very well our sermons with the support of Bible verses. Every sermons must be prepared on the following elements:
  1. Choosing the Text
  Choose a text portion from the Bible, prayerfully.
  1. Interpretation of the choosen Text
After choosing the text, a preacher must interpret the text.  In order to interpret the text properly, the following things (questions) must be considered.(Acts 8 : 25-40)
  • Author of the text / book (who wrote)
  • Date and occasion (when was written)
  • Purpose of the book / text (why was written)
  • Recipient (To whom it was written)
  • Message of text (what is the real message to the recipients)
The above questions will help the preacher to understand the message. Note :  For more details about interpretation, please refer “Hermenutics”.
  1. c) Application
  After understanding the text, the preacher must ask “how this message of the text is applicable and useful to me or my audience”.  The answer he gets from the text is application of message to the preacher, believers (or) people of present day.
  1. Secondary or Final Preparation
  After interpreting the text carefully and after making clear the application of message, the preacher must prepare the final draft of sermon.  The final draft of sermon must have introduction, key points (main body) and conclusion.  It is good a sermon must have three key points, at least two key points.  If a sermon has many key points, the audience may not remember or understand the message well. So the final draft should be prepared as given below: Model Sermon Preparation                      Introduction
  1. Key point
  2. Key Point
  3. Key point
Application of message Conclusion Sample Sermon Final Draft Outline : Topical Sermon   Topic          : Faith Text  : Hebrew 11 : 6
  1. Introduction
  1. Key Points
  1. Need of Faith – 11 : 6a
  2. Object of Faith – 11 : 6b
  3. Reward of Faith – 11 : 6c
  1. Application
  1. Conclusion
  1. How to deliver the Sermon
  Every sermon has three parts, such as introduction, main body (key points) and conclusion. Preaching the sermon (Above sample sermon is used here)   Introduction : To make interest to the audience open your preaching by telling a story, or event, or historical event, related to your message. (After introduction, explain the points)
  1. Need of Faith        –        Heb. 11 : 6a
(If you want, you can give other supporting verses about faith).
  1. Object of Faith      –        Heb. 11 : 6b
You can give additional support by quoting verses according to your presentation of thought.
  1. Reward of Faith    –        Heb. 11 : 6c
Here also, support your point with more Bible verses. Application          : Since God rewards our faith, we should put our faith in God and in His word, the Bible. Conclusion :  In order to emphasis your message, you can tell one more story, or event, or song related to your message at the end of preaching.  This will help the people to remember your message.
  1. Special warning to Preachers
  1.          Never open your preaching “Sorry, Forgive me because, I am not prepared to preach” (or) I am not a good preacher etc.
If you open your preaching like this, audience will not listen, your message and they will loose their interest.
  1. Never open by saying “I have no time to prepare message” or I prepared my message in hurry” because people will not like such messages.
  • Do not attack any person in the audience directly or indirectly while preaching.
  1. Never use slang words in preaching.
  2. Begin your message in a friendly way.
  1. Use of words in Sermon
            Language is the tool of preaching.  Every language has some speciality.  So the preacher must know well the language in which he is going to preach.  Then only he can use the language appropriately.  The following suggestion will help you to select and use appropriate words.
  1. Use clear words (Pronounce clearly)
  2. Use familiar words that are familiar to audience
  • Use short words (according to the language)
Ex.    Use “lab” instead of Laboratory Usephone” instead of telephone
  1. Use accurate words
  2. Use modern words
  3. Use properly arranged words (words arrangement style)
  • Use active words that will keep the interest of audience.
Note :  In order to improve word power, a preacher must daily read not only the Bible but also the News papers and books in the language in which he does preach often.  Good readers become great speakers.  
  1. Audience Analysis
                     Many preachers are not effective even after careful preparation of sermon, because they fail to analysis the audience, before preaching.  If your preaching must be effective, you should first understand about your audience through audience analysis. Suggestions for audience analysis (Act. 17)   You should know and evaluate the audience about the age group, social background, economic background (rich or poor), education, religious background (Christian (or) other religions or mixed group), occupation (Daily wages or unemployed or Government employee), sex (all male or all female or evenly balanced group) etc. Moreover, you should know how far they know about the subject you are going to preach (Have they been informed about your subject matter, or can they understand your subject or Is it a new subject to them etc.).  If it is new subject, you should know whether they can understand it or not.  You should know about their interest also.  If you preach a subject on which they have no taste, they will not listen your preaching.  As you analyse audience, you should analyse the occasion in which you preach. So every preacher must not only carefully prepare the sermon but also wisely analyse the audience before the beginning of preaching session.  After analysis, he must suit the message to the audience.  Then only the audience will receive the message well.
  1. How to Introduce a Preacher on the Dais
                   Many a times, the chairman of meeting struggles to introduce a preacher to audience.  One of the reasons is that the chairman fails to collect enough and needful information about the preacher whom he is going to introduce. So if you are going to be a chairman (Presiding officer) of any public meeting, you should collect all necessary information about the person you are going to introduce on dais.  The following suggestion will help you how to introduce a preacher. Suggestions  
  1. After collecting information, select and edit needful information about his name, family, work, and any special achievements.
  2. When you introduce him to audience, tell very briefly about his name, work and his achievements. If you want to tell about his family tell very very briefly.  Do not drag your introduction of preacher.
  • May God help you to become great preacher!
  1. Prepare ten Sermon outlines with Bible references.
  2. Write any ten short stories, or events or historical incidents, that you can use in your sermon as illustrations.
  3. How will you relax your tension before preaching?
  4. How will you preside a Public meeting, if you are given the duty of the chairmanship of meeting?
  5. How many times you have preached in church meeting or house prayer meeting or ladies meeting etc. ?
Note :  Please write this assignment and send it to CALS.  Don’t forget to write your Register Number.