Textual Preaching

Preaching a Textual Sermon

Ever since the days of Aristotle, speakers have known that an audience benefits more from a message that has parts that fit together to support the main thesis of the lesson.  In preaching, many organizational patterns have been developed over the years.  In the previous issue of Man of God, we discussed an organizational plan called “narration with explanation.”  In this issue, we will address a different plan for developing a sermon:  textual preaching.

The textual sermon is, in many ways, the simplest.  It basically takes the words or phrases of a verse and makes a point on each one of them.  In the previous issue of Man of God we mentioned that 1 Timothy 4:12 provides a good example of a verse which may be used for a textual sermon.  There Paul tells Timothy to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”  The main theme of this verse is “be an example for the believers,” and then Paul lists five different ways in which to be an example.  So, the outline for a textual sermon on this verse would look like this:
Subject Sentence:  Be an example for the believers.”

Body of the Sermon:

  1. In Speech.
  2. In Life.
  3. In Love.
  4. In Faith.
  5. In Purity.


In developing this sermon, the preacher would trace the idea of “being an example” through the five elements.  (1) Be an example in what you say by using language that is clean, true, and encouraging.  (2) Be an example in how you live by being honest, in how you spend your time and money, and by serving other people.  (3) Be an example in how you love your family, your friends, your brothers and sisters in the church, and even your enemies.  Show this love by acting in their best interest ahead of your own.  (4) Be an example in faith.  Let your firm belief in Jesus lead you to learn the faith by study of the word, to hold fast to the word even under pressure to change, and to share the faith in the most kind but firm way you can.  (5) Be an example in purity means that you are careful to keep impure thoughts out of your mind by choosing your movies, TV, and reading to fill you mind with clean thoughts.  You also speak and think in pure ways and quickly drive out the impurities by changing the subject.  You also make choices about your behavior that will keep you pure. 

So, the textual sermon takes the actual words and/or phrases of a verse and builds a sermon around them.

Another example of a textual sermon comes from Acts 2:38.
Subject Sentence:  “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Body of the Sermon:

  1. Repent
  2. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
  3. For the forgiveness of your sins
  4. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Note that the words of the main headings come directly from the wording of the text.  The first two headings provide the two commands in the verse, and the last two headings present two outcomes which follow the obedience.

One more example of a textual sermon.  Matthew 5:8:  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  The full verse would be the subject sentence.  The first main point would read “Blessed are the pure in heart,” and under this heading the preacher would tell (1) that to be “blessed” means to be happy, and that to be “pure in heart” means to have your mind fixed on Jesus and on His good things.  The second main point would be “for they will see God.”  The first point describes the action we are to take—be pure in heart.  The second point describes the outcome—will see God.  So Jesus here make a promise—those who develop a pure heart will be close to God in this life and even closer in the life to come.

As you think about ways to develop a sermon, then, ask if the message you believe the audience needs can best be presented by using one verse and exploring what the verse means by dividing it into words and/or phrases.  If so, then use that as your structure and find ways to expand on each point to help the audience want carry out the message of the verse.  My final admonition to you comes from 2 Timothy 4:2, which also could make a textual sermon.

  1. Preach the Word.  (Explain what to preach.)
  2. Be Prepared in Season and Out of Season. (Explain when to preach.)
  3. Correct, Rebuke, and Encourage. (Explain why to preach.)
  4. With Great Patience and Careful Instruction.  (Explain how to preach.)

2 comments

  • NYEKO RICHARD
    NYEKO RICHARD
    Praise God so much for the great work He has given us to do, am so impressed by your ideal on teaching and very few people understand that about Topical, Expository and Textual types of sermons, especially here in Uganda. Thank you Apostle Richard Nyeko

    Praise God so much for the great work He has given us to do, am so impressed by your ideal on teaching and very few people understand that about Topical, Expository and Textual types of sermons, especially here in Uganda.
    Thank you
    Apostle Richard Nyeko

  • Darryl J. Hoffman
    Darryl J. Hoffman Florida
    Also, abundance dampness from the dishwasher, getting away [url=https://Hoodsite.cc/]hoodsite[/url] from scents from the garbage caThe Fort Hoodsite shooting misfortune on November 5, 2009 sent shockwaves through our military and our country.

    Also, abundance dampness from the dishwasher, getting away hoodsite from scents from the garbage caThe Fort Hoodsite shooting misfortune on November 5, 2009 sent shockwaves through our military and our country.

Add comment