Sermon Preparation by Bishop Paul Barnett

At our recent Tasmanian Clergy Conference (4 – 6 November  2009), our guest speaker Bishop Paul Barnett presented excellent “Studies in First Peter” and also his notes on Sermon Preparation. I have his permission to share them with you. Firstly, his introductory comment on Christian ministry:

Christian Ministry

Paul to Timothy (in times of hardship for both)   1 Timothy 4:12-13

Set the believers an example (‘typos’-Greek) in

  • speech
  • conduct
  • love
  • faith
  • purity

Devote yourself to

  • the reading
  • the encouragement
  • the teaching

so that all may see your progress

Ten point checklist for sermon preparation and delivery (we all need good methods)

Tuesday – Wednesday (3 hours)

  1. Reset the text line by line (by hand or computer –
    See if there is a natural structure (see e.g., on 1 Peter 3:7)
  2. Context: work out how the text follows from what was written before
    In letters look out for connectors (‘For’, ‘Therefore’, etc.)
    Ask: how does my passage relate to what comes next?
  3. Identify items in the passage you don’t understand. Check a commentary
  4. How does this passage relate to the known situation of the original readers?
  5. Ask yourself: what is the BIG idea in the passage?

Wednesday – Thursday (3 hours)

  1. How does the teaching of the passage fit in overall with Christian theology?
  2. What will my sermon outline be (based on its BIG idea)?
  3. Lord, give me (a) some good illustrations, and (b) a helpful application.

Friday (2 hours)

  1. Type up the sermon text
  2. Reduce it to a 1 page outline, practice that and preach from that (for eye contact)


Preach the BIG idea from your summary. Give the people good things to take home

Make it
D disciplined in preparation
E engaging
E edifying
P passionate

Helpful to create a computer folder for each passage with files for

  1. template outline
  2. sermon text
  3. one page outline
  4. ideas for illustrations.

From Studies in First Peter by Bishop Paul Barnett.


Sermon Preparation by Bishop Paul Barnett — 4 Comments

  1. I hope this sermon preparation advice included the advice to be totally prepared 4 wks in advances so…
    1. You can practice delivery – because the people who turn up to hear you deserve it.
    2. Your marketing and communication team can reach out and let others know what a great message you have for the world.

    People can hear GREAT sermons on the internet now from the great preachers around the world. Why should they bother with listening to you?

  2. Hi Glenda,

    Thanks for your comments. Re your question – why should people listen to a local preacher when there are so many GREAT sermons on the internet?

    My response goes along the lines of – the text of Scripture and the local con-text in which the hearer lives are BOTH vitally important to the hearing and appropriate cultural application for the living out of the Scriptural text.

    If time permits I may address these issues in further posts. The whole issue of Gospel and culture continue to be vital to our following of Jesus.

  3. Pingback: Sermon Preparation by Bishop Paul Barnett | Wayne Schuller’s Blog

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