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How Sermons Work (Murray)

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Evangelical Press

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How do sermons work? How does a preacher get from the basic nuts and bolts of a few Bible verses to the delivery of a full sermon? That's the question David Murray answers in this instructive and immensely practical book. He demonstrates that behind the thirty to forty-five minutes we see and hear on a Sunday morning are many hours of mental, spiritual and practical labour. Like all pastoral labour, it involves head, heart and hand.

Murray breaks up the sermon preparation process into a clear and simple step-by-step method, covering topics such as how to choose a text, how to introduce a sermon, how to explain a text, and how to apply it. It will provide an excellent refresher for experienced preachers and a reliable guide for those just starting out. It will also be extremely helpful to Bible class teachers, Bible Study leaders, or anyone who has to prepare a Bible message.

Above all, however, it is the author's desire that this book will also be read by those who do not preach. He wants to give non-preachers an insider's look at sermon preparation. By taking readers behind the scenes and asking, ‘How do they do that?' Murray wants to supply answers that will increase respect for pastors and their preaching.


Table of Contents:

Introduction – How do they do that?

1. Preparation – preparing to preach

2. Selection – selecting a text

3. Interrogation – exegeting the text

4. Variation – varying the sermons

5. Introduction – beginning the sermon

6. Organization (1) – the principles of sermon organization    

7. Organization (2) – the practice of sermon organization

8. Application (1) – the principles of application

9. Application (2) – the practice of application

10. Presentation – preaching a sermon



David P. Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was born in Scotland and served as a pastor and lecturer there. Dr. Murray and his wife Shona have four children.



'A down-to-earth, practical guide to biblical preaching that will be of special use to those entering upon a life of ministry.' --David F. Wells, Distinguished Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological seminary

‘Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth' (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV). I highly commend this book by David Murray as an excellent aid for the workers.' --Erroll Hulse, Editor - Reformation Today

The biblical, theological, and pastoral foundation of How Sermons Work is one of the many reasons I heartily commend David Murray's ministry. David's fruitful experience as a preacher and his faithful pastor's heart oozes from every page of this book. It is written with a precision that will immensely benefit both young aspiring pastors as well as the most seasoned preacher. I commend this practical guide to all who seek to evaluate their preaching with an aim to grow more faithful in this divine calling.' -- Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church