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This structure uses the versification of the text to lead the hearers sequentially through the reading.  Rather than follow the arbitrary division of the text into verses, however, the preacher often divides the verses into sections that can be considered according to their content (e.g., the communication of a complete thought), their form (e.g., the first articulation of a refrain in a psalm), or their function (e.g., the creation of an experience of tension in the opening conflict of a narrative).

The sermon can open deductively by highlighting a topic that will be addressed for the hearers through a close reading of the text or inductively by communicating a need on the part of the hearers that will be answered by a closer reading of this particular text.  The introduction is important in that it communicates the value of walking slowly through the text and invites the hearers to join the preacher on that journey.  The preacher then focuses upon one portion of the text, offering textual exposition and hearer application before moving to the next selection of verses.  Ultimately, the preacher seeks to trace a consistent theme throughout the sequence of verses for the hearers and relate this theme to the proclamation of God’s gracious work in Christ.  This approach should not simply offer the hearers random exegetical comments and various reflections without a coherent theme.


Sermon by Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs preached in Chapel at Concordia Seminary on October 6, 2011:

Sermon by John Schmidtke preached in Chapel at Concordia Seminary on October 31, 2011: