This is a hybrid exegetical / topical series builder… which is typically how I preach. I don’t usually go verse-by-verse, because that can take forever to get through a single book and the overall theme of that book can be lost in doing so. Instead, as the author naturally progresses topics throughout a book, I try to make my sermons progress along with him.
To begin, we need to answer some basic questions about the book you’re about to preach in.
- What Book Are You Going To Preach From?
- Who Wrote The Book?
- When Was The Book Written?
- Who Was The Original Audience Of The Book?
- Were There Any Special Circumstances Happening To Which The Book Was Written Into?
- What’s The Overall Theme Of The Book?
- Why Is The Book So Important?
Answering these basic questions will help create a framework for your series.
- Approximately AD 56
- Church in Rome (Comprised of Jewish & Gentile Christians)
- In-fighting amongst Jewish & Gentile Christians
- Establishing Unity Among Believers
- Rich Theology in the first 11 Chapters followed by Instruction for Christian living in chapters 12 and on.
Now that we’ve answered these questions, and have an overall feel to the book, we can begin dividing the book into themes (or weeks) to be preached during the series. During this step, I will usually consult several different outlines of a book to see the themes they list (for example, Search Book Of Romans Outline). Another great tool is having the book laid out in letter form (without chapter & verse numbers) (after all, that’s what they are anyway). This helps to see the natural breaks and theme changes of a book without being swayed by chapter & verse numbers.
Series length (# of weeks) is determined by the size a book… but I try to keep it as concise as possible, without undermining any themes.
That’s my process in building a series.