How to Preach, Teach, and Witness


May God bless His Word to your hearts as you go through this material.

There is material here for the Preacher, the Teacher, and those who would like to know their Bible better. The Word of God itself says,

Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2).

We might keep this saying in mind:

"I preached as never sure to preach again; and as a dying man to dying men." Richard Baxter, 17th Century

The text is found in 2 Timothy 2:2.

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

Scriptures quoted here are from the King James Version.


Chapter 1 Preaching, the prerequisites


"And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

A. One who would preach must first of all, have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He must know from the Scriptures that he has been saved from sin, and know what it means to trust Christ alone for salvation.

B. He should be able to teach someone else the basic plan of salvation, that is:

1. God Loves YOU. John 3:16

2. All have sinned and need salvation. Rom.3:23; Isaiah 64:6

3. Christ died for our sins. Romans 5:6-9

4. Christ is the Son of God and God the Son. Matt. 3:17; John 1:1-14

5. Christ is risen and alive today. I Cor. 15:3,4

6. Christ is the only way to Heaven. John 14:6 Acts 4:12

7. Salvation is a gift, not earned by works. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8, 9

C. He must maintain a regular daily devotional life of Bible reading and prayer. You cannot talk for God if you do not walk and talk with God.

D. He must believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and that God has promised to honor His Word. Isaiah 55:11

E. He must have a good testimony and a good reputation, both before the church and before the world. I Tim. 4:12

F. His own heart must be right with God: no sin allowed to remain, whether of thought, word or deed. Psalm 66:18; 1 John 1:9.

G. His life must be fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 12:1, 2

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear; Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear; And the best of all the preachers are the men who livetheir creeds, For to see good put in action is what everybody needs." Edgar Guest


Chapter 2 The problem of what to preach

"Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Cor.9:16).

"Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2)

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every
creature" (Mark 16:15).


A. It is the message of the Gospel by which we are saved. 1 Cor. 15:1-4

B. The essentials of the Gospel are:

The fact that God is holy and man is sinful.

Christ died and rose again, taking the punishment for our sins.

Man's best efforts all fall short, and we are hopelessly lost if we trust in our own goodness and efforts.

God's grace offers a free salvation that cannot in any way be earned or merited.

We must come to Christ humbly trusting Him alone for our salvation. We must receive it as a free gift.

Our assurance of salvation, forgiveness and Heaven are based on the Word of God alone. John 5:24, I John 5:13

Preaching the Gospel is making the truth of salvation as clear as possible, and using enough Scripture so that the Holy Spirit will be able to:

Convince from the truth of the Scriptures

Convict of the sin in the life, and

Convert the soul from trusting self to trusting Christ,

Change the life inwardly and outwardly.

Preaching the Gospel is our part. Only the Holy Spirit of God is able to convince, convict, convert and change lives. The Gospel may be preached with a Bible story such as:

Naaman 2 Kings 5:1-14

The Brazen Serpent Numbers 21:5-9

Nicodemus John 3:1-18

The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-24

The Philippian Jailer Acts 16:22-34

Or texts such as:

Isaiah 45:22 Look and Live! (See Brazen Serpent)

Isaiah 53:6 Go in at the first All, and come out at the last All.

John 1:12 Who are the Children of God?

John 3:16-18 The unpardonable sin - terminal unbelief

John 3:36 The only two groups of people in the world

John 5:24 Passed from death to life!

John 6:37 An invitation with a promise

Romans 1:16 God's Dynamite (Gr. Dunamis - power)

Romans 4:5, 21 God's Grace and our Faith

Romans 5:6-9 Christ died for Ungodly, Us, You.

Romans 6:23 God's gift, vs. the devil's wages.

Romans 10:9, 10, 13 Believe, Confess openly, Call.


B. It is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God that produces spiritual growth. I Peter 2:2, II Peter 1:2-8

C. Be alert to the spiritual needs of the group to which you will be speaking.

Are they merely church attenders, or non-attenders?

Earnest Christians, or hope-so Christians?

Young or old?

Those with Bible knowledge, or very little Bible knowledge.

D. Prayerfully search the Scriptures for God's leading as to what you should preach.

E. Take into consideration any special occasion on the calendar, in the news, or in the life of the church. This is often good for the introduction of the message.

F. Keep a notebook or disk file of ideas for sermons.

If you get an idea during your daily Bible reading, jot it down for later research. Learn to take notes on sermons you hear or read. (Keep those that are good, get rid of the rest.) Turn to this notebook or file for ideas when you have to prepare a message.

G. Remember that in every congregation there may be:

Sinners who need salvation

Suffering believers who need comfort

Backsliders who need restoration

Carnality that needs to be rebuked

Errors that need to be corrected

People who are confused, needing direction

Those who need to be assured that the Lord is real, and that His Word is true.

Therefore, don't preach your doubts, your gripes, your notions, your opinions, your politics, or your views; but preach the Word of God with all the authority that goes with it!

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:5).


Chapter 3 Preparation for preaching

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

A. Have an aim or goal. What do you seek to accomplish in the lives of individuals? If you aim at nothing, you will be sure to hit nothing.

You may want to:

Win people to Christ

Strengthen new Christians

Teach some specific doctrine

Create a greater love, and worship of the Lord

Help in some area of personal living

Expose some cult or doctrinal error

Challenge believers to live dedicated lives

Exhort believers to serve Christ is some specific way


B. You must have a Scriptural foundation for your message

There are three types of sermons:

Topical - One theme or topic, but using a number of portions of the Bible to develop the overall teaching of the Bible on the subject.

Good resources are available for this:

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
The New Topical Text Book
and others

Textual - This method develops an outline from a single verse or a short passage of Scripture. You will want to check lexicons for meanings of words, and cross references for other verses that will help in the understanding of the passage.

Some helpful materials:

Online Bible Software with cross-references and lexicons.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Vine's Expository of New Testament Words

Other Reference works and software.

Expository - The teaching of a book or longer passage of the Bible, usually as a series of messages. Consecutive teaching that does not let you ride some hobby or avoid difficult passages.

Helpful materials:

Bible dictionaries and atlases

Bible handbooks for background information

C. Do not force the Bible to fit your views. Let the Bible teach you.

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, or you may have nonsense.

D. Every text must be interpreted in the light of its context.

John Wycliffe wrote, "It will greatly help thee to understand Scripture if thou mark: (take notice of) not only what is spoke or written, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, in what circumstances, considering what goeth before, and what followeth after."

E. Be aware of differences.

Pay attention to whether God or man or satan is speaking.

Know the difference between Old & New Testament truth

O.T. Judaism. Obey and you will be blessed.
N.T. Church You have all blessings in Christ.
Obedience is out of love & gratitude

Is the passage talking to believers or unsaved?

Is it a parable (story with a meaning) or an event?

Is it appropriate for today?

F. Keep in mind some definitions of terms.

Inspiration refers to God's stamp of accuracy and authority on that which is recorded in the Bible.

Revelation refers to those parts of the Bible revealed by God that would not otherwise be known. (Illustration: Historical sections of the Bible are inspired, but not a revelation of otherwise unknown information.)

Illumination is when the Holy Spirit makes a Bible truth clear as a believer reads the Bible.

Interpretation is determining what the passage meant when it was written.

Application is the way we use a portion of Scripture to meet a present need. There is only one correct interpretation to any portion of the Bible, but there may be many applications.

G. Make notes! Lots of notes! (If you are doing it on computer, print it out, sort it out, and then put it in order on your word processor.) If you are doing it on paper, keep all notes on one side. (Many good ideas get lost because they were on the back of a sheet of paper.)

Collect your ideas, key verses, quotations, poems, illustrations, etc. Spread them out, pray about it, and put them in order.

Dwight L. Moody on sermon preparation

"I have no secret. I study more by subjects than I do by texts. If when I am reading, I meet a good thing on any of these subjects, I slip it into the right envelope and leave it there. I always carry a notebook, and if I hear anything in a sermon that will throw light on that subject, I put it down and slip it into the envelope. Perhaps I let it lie for a year or more. When I want a new sermon, I take everything that has been accumulating. Between what I find there and the results of my own study I have material enough.

I am all the time going over my sermons, taking out a little here and adding a little there. In that way they never get very old. I am never ashamed to repeat a sermon."

(D.L. Moody lived before the time of file folders so he used large envelopes with topic names on them. In this day of computers, it is much easier to compile information.)

Develop your message toward a climax, not just a conclusion. Keep your goal or aim in mind.

A message is not just 3 points and a poem. It is not just a way to fill up 30 minutes of time. People have come for a message from God for their souls. We dare not give them anything less. There was an old uneducated preacher from the south who was asked how he prepared his sermons. His answer was, "I read myself full, think myself clear, pray myself hot, and then I let's go!" Perhaps he had something.


Chapter 4 The pattern for the sermon


"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21).

"Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor.14:40)

A. A sermon must have an introduction. Often the introduction will make the difference in whether or not the congregation will pay attention to the sermon.

The purposes of the introduction:

To get the attention of the people

To arouse interest in the subject

To introduce your text or topic

To relate the subject to some occasion

To make the people want to listen

The introduction may be:

A rhetorical question - one you will answer

Your text

An observation or illustration

A quotation on your subject. (You may agree or disagree with the person quoted.)

The background of your Scripture passage

B. A sermon needs a well organized body of truth so that God's people will not go away hungry and the unsaved will not go away unaware of their need of Christ as Saviour.

The body of the message may have several points, but only one aim or purpose. The truths presented should be illustrated out of present day living, and then applied to current experience. A simple outline of this is to:

State the truth

Illustrate the truth

Apply the truth

C. A sermon should have a climax, not just a conclusion. The entire sermon should build toward this to accomplish the aim of the sermon.

I heard a preacher deliver an excellent message, with a heart-touching illustration of leading a person to Christ on their death-bed. The aim was accomplished, but the preacher had more in his outline, and he went on to finish the outline. He could have given an invitation at the end of the illustration, and forgotten the rest of his outline,and he would have been far more effective.

You do not have to teach everything you know or have studied for the message to be effective. Be like a good salesman - close when you have made the sale.

A conclusion may be a poem, an effective illustration, or some other portion of Scripture that reinforces your text.

D. The conclusion of a sermon may tie the whole sermon together, and end with an invitation or a challenge.

A sermon should have only one conclusion!

E. A sermon is a message from God's Word that should inform the mind, stir the emotions, and move the will to action or a decision.

F. The preacher should double check the sermon for aim, clarity, doctrinal accuracy, good illustrations, and a message from God, not just the preacher.

Never assume that everyone in front of you is really saved. Always include the Gospel in some way!

G. "Sir, we would see Jesus." John 12:21


Chapter 5 The presentation of the sermon


Public speaking takes various forms.

A lecturer presents a set of opinions, views or truths for the information of the hearers.

A political speaker presents his or her position on issues with a view to persuading the audience to agree, or support that position.

A teacher presents information in a way that he or she may analyze how much has been learned. This is done by examination, discussion or other participation.

A sermon is the presentation of Biblical truth in a way that will warm the heart, challenge the mind, and affect the life. It may lead to an invitation to respond for salvation, dedication or other commitment. A model for preaching is in Nehemiah 8:8.

"So they read in the book of the law distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading" (Nehemiah 8:8).

A. Preaching is communicating God's truth. Learn how to project your voice so that even without a public address system you will be heard clearly in the back row. Don't shout, but speak from the diaphragm. Don't use a "Holy tone." or "preacher voice." Speak a little more slowly than you normally do.

Stand up to be seen

Speak up to be heard

Sit down to be appreciated

(Some of us learned this as Stand up, speak up and shut up. Some never learned the last point.)

B. The text of Nehemiah 8:8 gives an outline of the simplest and best kind of preaching.

Distinct Bible reading - State Clearly

Gave the sense - explained and illustrated

Caused them to understand - present application

C. The apostle Paul had a burdened heart

"I am debtor." Romans 1:14

The preacher must have a love for the Lord and a concern for souls. Be earnest. Put your heart into your preaching.

D. Paul also had a prepared mind.

"I am ready" Romans 1:15

Being well prepared is essential to a good message. Being well prepared is the best way to overcome fear or stagefright. Remember, people have come for a message from God for their souls. Dare we give them less than our best?

E. We have a glorious Gospel!

"I am not ashamed." Romans 1:16

Have a vision of the holiness of God, the sinfulness of sin, the lostness of the lost, the reality of Heaven and Hell, and preach for a verdict!

F. Ask God's blessing on His Word before and after the sermon.

G. Keep records! Your memory is not perfect. Keep a final outline as a record of what you preached. Make notations on the back of it as to date, place, results, etc. You may want to keep a paper or computer file (database) of such things as: Subject, Text, Title, date, place, and possibly a consecutive number.

"I love to tell the story, 'tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it, More wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, For some have never heard
The message of salvation From God's own Holy Word.
I love to tell the story, 'Twill be my theme in glory 
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

Some Gospel outlines for preaching.

(God has to do the saving. Merely using a formula or and outline does not guarantee results. Pray for God's blessing on His Word. He has promised that it will not return to Him void.)

The Roman Road to salvation.

Who is good enough for God's heaven? No one. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Rom. 3:10

Who has sinned? Everyone. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Rom. 3:23

How can I earn salvation? You can't.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom. 4:5

How can anyone be saved? By trusting in Christ alone.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:6-8

Salvation must be received as a free gift.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 6:23 Can I be sure I am saved? Yes! There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom. 8:1

What should I do? Believe in Christ confessing Him openly before men. Acknowledge Him as your Savior.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. 10:9,10 God's promise For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Rom. 10:13

The Gospel on your fingers

I have sinned (Thumb points toward me)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Rom. 3:23

God loves me (First finger points to Heaven)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Christ died for me (Middle finger longest, important)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 1 Cor. 15:3

I receive Him as my personal Savior (Ring finger)

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

I am saved (Little finger)

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31

The A - B - C's of salvation


A - Admit that you are a sinner in God's sight.

B - Believe that Christ died for you.

C - Come to Him, Call on Him, Confess Him openly before men.

How salvation works


God's love planned it John 3:16

Christ's death paid for it

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor. 5:21

The Holy Spirit works in hearts

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:8-11

The Word of God brings the message to us

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Pet. 1:23

Faith reaches out to take it and claim it

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. 2:8,9

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Rom. 5:1

The "ALL" Plan of Salvation

All have sinned

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Rom. 3:23

All of our righteousness is as a filthy rag in God's sight.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isa. 64:6

All of us have gone astray by going our own way, All of our sins were laid on Christ.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isa. 53:6

He died for all. We must accept this truth and Him.

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2 Cor. 5:15

Four things God does not know

God does not know of any sin that He does not hate.

God does not know of any sinner He does not love.

God does not know of any other way of salvation than the cross of Christ.

God does not know any better time to trust Christ than RIGHT NOW.

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