What Is Homiletics?

Homiletics is the art of preaching a topic from the word of God. It is the ability to communicate the teachings of Scripture in a way that the listener can understand. The development of types of sermon may differ from one another, i.e. expository, topical, devotional, and textual, they may include illustrations from life or fiction, but they should be clearly presented so that others may follow the importance of the subject introduced. The Scripture text at all times must be central (not forgotten) as it is clearly defined, explained and discussed.

The preacher’s ability to prepare a sermon has an important aim in view. It is not to astound others with rhetoric but to stimulate faith and guide others towards a deeper knowledge of God. His first concern is to present the message of salvation to the lost, and then to offer instruction for godly living to those who are followers of Christ. A preacher should be well prepared to combine both of these into any sermon he gives. Such an ability must be the anointing of God (His call on the preacher’s life), but it grows with a constant walk with God and daily study of His word.

Within homiletics there includes the need to speak clearly, effectively, and genuinely. Therefore as a craftsman knows his tools, so too should an ambassador of Christ know how to use the Bible to prepare a message, use his voice, emotions, and other talents for the glory of God. In whatever age the preacher lives, or to whatever people he ministers to, he needs to be relevant. In a real sense it is the pastor who has been given the opportunity to be relevant since he should be aware of the needs and concerns of his own church.

The development of a Scripture text into a sermon is like putting flesh on bones. A sermon being a ‘word building’ that grows out of a plan (blueprint) into a quality product. This ‘flesh’ means that Scripture must be added to Scripture, personal insight and illustration, and revelation must be brought together as the sermon is moulded. Therefore is it vital that the preacher know his subject, otherwise he will other his congregation rambling thoughts that produce no real fruit. He must have an understanding of all the foundational teachings and doctrines of the Christian faith through his own personal study of the Scriptures.

The sermon may be seen as putting across an argument containing an introduction (foundation), the topic to be discussed (the building), and a conclusion (roof). If the materials used are both Scriptural and godly then the outcome will be a solid structure. This means that the sermon must have unity and order, that is, it must be presented in a logical and understandable manner.

Unlike a speech or a public address, which is usually for the entertainment of an audience, the sermon is the proclamation of God’s eternal word. The preacher has nothing worthwhile to say if he does not minister from the Holy Scriptures. Such a proclamation may take the form of evangelistic preaching, a devotional, encouragement or theological teaching, but it must always be firmly established and built upon the Bible.