Bible studies are the heart of the sermon, but let's trace the sermon from God to the preacher to the hearer.
The study of the sermon actually begins with God and then moves to the preacher. God's part includes revelation, inspiration, and illumination. The preacher's part includes observation, interpretation, application, correlation, and communication.
The first aspect in God's part is revelation. Revelation is the giving or making known of God and His truth. In other words, God revealed Himself to man. Without revelation, we wouldn't know God. More on God's revelation later.
Another aspect of God's part is inspiration. Inspiration has to do with the recording of God's truth. It literally means "God breathed" and involves God giving His truth to man to be recorded. Without inspiration, we wouldn't have God's Word to preach. More on God's inspiration later.
Another aspect of God's part is illumination. Illumination has to do with the understanding of God's truth. This involves the work of God the Holy Spirit as He enlightens men's minds to understand God's truth. Without illumination, we wouldn't understand God's Word. More on illumination later.
A dual responsibility for God and the Preacher is selection. What subject and text should I preach? That is a question often asked by most every preacher. The selection process is varied but the eventual selection is important.
The ultimate decision should be left up to the Lord but He uses various circumstances as He guides us through the process to an eventual selection of the subject and text or texts for the message He wants us to preach. More on selection later.
The first responsibility in the Preacher's part is observation. Observation is basically just that. It is the skill of observing what is there. And this is the basis for inductive Bible study. More on observation later.
Another responsibility in the Preacher's part is interpretation.Interpretation is discerning the meaning from God's Truth which has been properly observed. There are basic principles and rules that must be followed to interpret properly. More on interpretation later.
Another responsibility in the Preacher's part is application. Application is relating God's truth to me and my audience. It is bringing God's truth to the 21st century. More on application later.
Another responsibility in the Preacher's part is correlation.Correlation is showing how the truth presented relates to the verse, paragraph, chapter, book, and Bible. More on correlation later.
Another responsibility in the Preacher's part is communication. Communication is when we actually proclaim God's truths to others. We got the truth from God; we understand the truth; we decide how best to communicate the truth. More on communication later.
All of this has to do with Bible Study. We definitely need more serious students of God's Word. When the Bible Studies are complete, then and only then can we can begin to build the sermon that we will eventually preach.
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