This sermon structure works with the prevalence of proverbs in contemporary discourse (e.g., advertising slogans, sound bytes, etc.) and seeks to use that experience for the purpose of proclaiming the divine wisdom tradition. In this structure, the sermon develops a single proverb for the hearers by using it as a refrain throughout the sermon. Often this proverb arises out of the text itself: for example, Jesus tells his disciples that “whoever saves his life with lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” The sermon consists of offering the hearers various life situations in which this proverb is reflected upon. In each case, the hearer needs wisdom to discern the application of the proverb and the sermon offers that contemplative wisdom which discerns how the proverb applies. At one point in the sermon, the proverb is related to the proclamation of the gospel. By moving from biblical stories to contemporary situations and punctuating each situation with a statement of and reflection upon the proverb, the preacher forms hearers who enter the world remembering the proverb and seeing situations wherein it guides their daily life with godly wisdom.
From December 9, 2011, a Proverbial sermon by Jeffrey Gibbs preached on 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16.
© 2011 David Schmitt. All rights reserved.