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Sermon Tone Analysis
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Step 1: First Impressions

Read the text in the translation used for worship and meditate upon it. Record your first impressions of the text: what it says to you and to the people God has committed to your care. Ask questions about the text, noting especially those things that may be hard to understand or practice.


Even before the Pharisees came up to Jesus to rebuke his disciples for working on the Sabbath, he and his disciples are already traveling though the grainfields. Even if the disciples were not plucking the heads of grain, the Pharisees would have rebuked them anyway. Instead of rebuking them for whatever reason he could think of, Jesus instead turns to the Scriptures. Not just the Scriptures, but to the point when Isreal prospered under Christ's ancestor, King David. Since the Pharisees came about to return the people to this same time period, David's examples held great authority. It was a life and death situation for David back in 1 Samuel. He needed the supplies in order to survive. But God was with David, yet he not punish David for breaking the Sabbath. The first question that comes to mind is what does Christ mean by saying that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath? The next question I have deals with that is the Son of Man above the Law or under the Law?

Step 2: Textual Study

Translate the text, noting any aspects of translation that are important for clarifying meaning. Identify the basic ideas and experiences evoked by the text and the purposeful ordering of them in a rhetorical structure.


This is the space where you will record the insights you have gained about the text by your use of the following resources:
Literary typing
Visualizations - The Lexham Clausal Outlines of the Greek NT (SBL edition)
Grammatical Constructions
Word by Word
Lemma in Passage

Step 3: Contextual Study

Examine the text in its immediate context (verses preceding and following) and more general context (book in which it is written). Identify how the context deepens your understanding of the text and its theological themes. Pay particular attention to matters such as the content immediately surrounding the text, the setting, author, occasion for writing, and how the author deals with particular themes throughout the book.
Compose an exegetical statement that names the author and literary form of the text and then summarizes what the text says (main ideas) and what the text does (intended function) for the original hearers.


Setting: Possibly Capernaum
Context around passage: The surrounding passages have two situations going on. The first deals with the Law. Two questions about the Law appear in the passage and the passages surrounding. The first question of the Law consists of fasting and the second the Sabbath. In both situations, the Pharisees try to accuse Christ of breaking the Law for not fasting nor holding the Sabbath in the way that the Pharisees interpreted the Law, which is key comparing to how the Lord of all holds the Law. It is the debate between the Old Law, which was given to the Israelites, compared to what Christ came to abolish.
In the earlier passage before the reading, Christ never said there was anything wrong with practices like fasting and taking the Sabbath. Jesus even fasted himself. However, he was against the Pharisees forcing others to fast just to be pious enough.

Exegetical Statement

This is where you will record your exegetical statement that summarizes the content (what the text says), the function (what the text does), and the literary form of the text (how the text says and does these things).

Step 4: Theological Study

Identify core theological teachings from the text that may be important for the sermon. Develop those teachings through the use of parallel passages, lexical studies, biblical, confessional, and/or doctrinal theology. Use this theological study to broaden your understanding of how the text guides and norms the Christian faith, to identify false teachings, and to clarify how you might communicate the faith to your people today.


This is where you will record the results of your theological study. Try to identify and develop one to three teachings that you believe will be important for the sermon. Resources that you may find helpful here are Biblical Theologies, Confessional Documents, and Systematic Theologies.
For your development, consider the following questions about the teaching(s) you have identified:
What is the teaching?
Why is this important for God's people?
How do people (both in the world and in the church) tend to misunderstand this teaching?
How does this text help us clarify the teaching?
How do other texts of Scripture and the larger disciplines of theology further develop or clarify this teaching?
What stories or images can you use to help communicate this teaching?

Step 5: Liturgical Setting

Examine the liturgical setting in which the text will be preached. Identify connections between the text and its liturgical setting (other readings, hymns, prayers, etc.) and consider how this setting shapes the hearer's understanding and experience of this text.


This is where you will record the insights you have gained by your liturgical study. The Liturgy resource may be helpful here but you will also want to consider the hymns, prayers, and other experiences present in the worship service that day.

Step 6: Christocentricity

Consider this text in light of the Christocentricity of Scripture. Identify how its teachings and events lead you into law or gospel proclamation. Make particular note of imagery or metaphor, considering how these might be used in law and gospel proclamation.


This is where you will record your analysis of and meditation upon both the law/gospel dialectic and the law/gospel poetics of the text. You may find the Figurative Language resource helpful here.

Step 7: Contemporary Setting

Consider the people to whom you will preach and identify how this text and its teachings interact with their life experiences and growth in the faith. Be aware of common cultural assumptions and possible misunderstandings that may arise as God's people encounter this text and its teachings; also consider how this text and its teachings form the way God's people live in the world.


This passage reminds me of those who say we have to live and worship in a certain way in order to be a true Christian. We look at both sides of spectrum. If you do not accept Jesus into your heart you are truly not a Christian Unless you worship in a traditional setting and using the same practices as the early church fathers then you truly do not worship the true God. This is also a tough topic because of how we use the Sabbath day. We have youth sports, work, the National Football League, and countless other reasons for waking up on Sunday mornings. NONE of these are wrong, nor are they things that Christians should oppose.

Step 8: Focus and Function

Consider how you will preach this text by identifying the focus and function statements of your sermon and listing the main ideas you would like to include.


Here is where you record your focus and your function statements.
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