I like to be organized when writing sermons. While there is a myriad of ways to write a faithful Bible sermon, I find some sort of sermon outline helpful during my sermon writing process.
Below you will find an expository sermon outline example. I got this from Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon. In appendix 13 (p. 389), there’s an example of an expository sermon in a formal structure, and I have posted most of the contents of the outline from the sermon below.
At the bottom, I provide some additional thoughts on this sermon outline and more preaching resources to consider using.
Expository Sermon Outline Example
[Reannounce and read text]
[Prayer for illumination]
[Main point 1]
[Main Point 2]
[Main Point 3]
1. This outline can be broken. Notice the word “formal” above. This is a helpful guide, but it’s extremely formal, and no doubt can be broken and re-arranged to fit your preaching style and ministry context.
2. There were some parts of the outline in Chapell’s book I did not include. This would be things like subpoints, transition sentences, and analytical questions. All potentially helpful things to add, but I don’t want to confuse or overwhelm you on what all the homiletical terminology means; you’ll have to grab the book to understand the purposes behind the sermon outline structure.
3. I don’t think you need an illustration after every main point. Sermon illustrations can be an extremely powerful tool to communicate a point, but they can also be distracting, and take up too much of the sermon content. I’m a big fan of using an illustration for the sermon introduction and conclusion and then choose to use them modestly in the body of the sermon. They also don’t have to take up, say, five minutes. Sometimes a quick sentence will do.
4. You don’t need three points. Sometimes you will need four or you can settle with two or you may not have any points at all. It depends on the text. But having some sort of structure will make it easier for your listeners to follow along.
As always, there’s much more to say. But I’ll leave it here. There is only one way to heaven, but lots of ways to preach faithfully. Much of how you preach will depend on your theological credentials, personal experience and temperament, preaching style, and ministry context. When taking preaching advice, use what you like and dismiss the rest. Still, I hope this outline (or some sort of functional equivalent) will serve you well as you prepare to preach the Word.
In addition to this outline, you may also want to consider two other resources:
1. How to Write an Expository Sermon: A Step By Step Guide. Just as the title says, it’s a guide that walks you through how to write an expository sermon.
2. Expository Sermon Example. This is an example of what an expository sermon can look like.