My Personal Bible Study Plan. How Pastor David Cox prepares a sermon using theWord and other resources.
Firstly, about me. Not to brag, but to give you a background of my Bible study preparation. I went to a Bible college and got a bachelors degree in Christian Missions, Greek minor. I liked Greek and was exempt from taking more Greek classes in my Master’s degree in Bible. Not only that, but I took them anyway because I like Greek.
I then worked on a Master’s degree in Bible in graduate school, where I took a year and half of Hebrew. I continued my studies working on what I thought would count for a PhD in religion, and I took another Master’s degree in Education. After I finished the two master’s degrees, I wanted to enter the PhD program in Bible, but I was told that “missionaries don’t need PhDs in religion.” I wanted to start a Bible School in Mexico. We had differences, and I just left my education at that point. But my education classes gave me a lot of perspective on Bible education.
Torrey Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian Faith is a set of 15 chapters on various doctrinal themes in the Bible. Some of these chapters are...
1. Inspiration, or to what extent is the Bible Inspired of God?
2. The Christian conception of God...
4. The Deity of Jesus Christ
5. Jesus Christ, a Real Man
6. The Personality of the Holy Spirit
7. The Deity of the Holy Spirit and the Distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
8. The Atonement...
9. The Distinctive Doctrine of Protestantism: Justification by Faith
10. The New Birth
12. The Resurrection of the Body of Jesus and of our Bodies
13. The Devil
14. Is there a Literal Hell?
15. Is Future Punishment Everlasting?
Published in 1918. Downloads:
PDF: Torrey Fundamental Doctrines
theWord: Torrey Fundamental Doctrines
MySword: Torrey Fundamental Doctrines
eSword: Torrey Fundamental Doctrines
My point in relating this is to maybe help people who are wanting to seriously study the Bible but do not have the ability to pick up, move a family across several states and dedicate themselves to studies. I was single, and my parents were still supporting me.
Greek and Hebrew
If you are worried about Greek and Hebrew, about 65 to 80 percent, maybe 90 percent of what you can gleam from the Scriptures by studying it in the original languages is open in English in the KJV Bible, and English commentaries. There are some things that you just have to know the original languages in order to understand technical explanations. Our literature in English of the English Bible is robust, and although I would not really downplay a person learning Greek and Hebrew, it is not absolutely necessary, but it would be “good.”
Even though I know a lot about Greek and less about Hebrew, most of what I want to know in Bible study is what are the original Greek and Hebrew words, and what do they mean. This can be found in commentaries, and in theWord, open the KJV Bible, and click in the Bible window and press S. theWord will put the vocabulary shortcut behind each English word (sometimes there are 3-5 Greek words for one English word and visa versa, 3-5 English words for one Greek or Hebrew word). In general, Hebrew is a very concrete language, and this multi-word situation is rarer in Hebrew than it is in Greek which has a lot of philosophical uses in Greek.
Absolutely, the construction of a sermon involves a message from God, and then documenting the points and subpoints of that message with verses of Scripture. Let me make a very important point here. You need to keep your supporting Scripture points to around 1 to 3 verses at most, and then you pick the best Scriptures that prove that point, and not distract the audience with so many verses and commentaries that they lose track of the thread (thesis) of the sermon. Many a good sermon has been destroyed and ruined by too many verses.
Here you need to have TSK Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which is like a concordance commentary. Link it to the Bible window, and go to a verse in the Bible window, and then hoover the mouse over every verse reference and use only the best ones if you find one.
My secondary method of finding verses is to open an Internet Browser window and type “verse blood of Christ”. Substitute whatever you are looking for instead of “blood of Christ.” But google or the search engines will bring up a list of pages which has your search topic in it. Sometimes you can exhaust these search engines and not find anything useful. This many times is because you are not phrasing your search words correctly. Think and research.
Another useful search technic is to type in
Commentary John 3:16
You will get a lot of commentaries on that verse or a spread of verses, like 5 before until 5 after. But that works also. That is useful when you just don’t understand the verse and how it applies to us.
Proofreading your Sermon
While the above methods are very useful, there is no substitute to just reading and rereading your sermon. Preach it in your mind over and over.
Note that I use Microsoft Word, and there is an option to read a document aloud for you. When I have made the sermon and proofread it some 2 to 6 times, waiting some hours or days between each proofreading session, then I use the read aloud option. I stop it regularly to make corrections.
As the last step of my sermon preparation, I let my wife proofread it. She is a native Spanish speaker, and my native language is English. What she finds is not corrections of doctrine or even particular Spanish grammar, a lot. She just tells me this part doesn’t make sense. We then collaborate and come up with a change. Usually, I explain to her in more words that in the sermon, and she makes that change in the text.
Getting a Message from God
Above all, sermons should come from God and concentrate on the Word of God. You cannot have a good sermon if those two elements are not very strongly in every sermon.
My Personal Bible Study Plan
More Posts on Bible Study Methods
- Where to start your Bible Study
- My Personal Bible Study Plan
- Methods: How to Use the Word
- Method: Verse Collection from Cross References
- Method: English Bible Study, Word Search
- Making your own Resource Library