Top 10 Mistakes Preachers Make

From David Murray:

1. Cramming: Squeezing all you have ever studied about the Bible over the years into 30 minutes.

2. Skimming: Taking too many verses and simply skimming over the surface of the text, teaching nothing that someone with average intelligence would not have derived from the text themselves.

3. Floating: The preacher says many things that relate to the text, floating or hovering above the text, but fails to show how they are anchored in the text.

4. Proof-texting: Including lots and lots of texts from all over the Bible, and sometimes diverting hearers by expounding the proof texts as much as the sermon text.

5. Quoting: Too many quotes from commentators, theologians, and other preachers from the past and the present.

6. Lecturing: It’s difficult to define the difference between preaching and lecturing, but you know it when you see it/hear it. It’s about passion, eye-contact, persuasion, urgency, etc.

7. Assuming: Our own over-familiarity with the text results in us assuming that our hearers know the background of the text, the meaning of basic key words and concepts, etc. May also result in Mach 7 preaching speeds. And don’t assume your hearers are all converted either.

8. Confusing: Hearers are left confused usually because of a lack of structure or too complicated a structure (main points, sub-points, etc.); or sometimes there is a good structure, but it’s not sufficiently highlighted and emphasized so that hearers know where they’ve been, where they are, and where they are going.

9. Spraying: Lots and lots of data, but no single dominant thought; it’s the difference between a shotgun and a rifle.

10. Complicating: Instead of explaining the text, a preacher can actually make it more obscure. Usually involves words too big, sentences too long, concepts too abstract, language too philosophical/theological.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Patrick Schreiner

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About PJ Tibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to know him and make him known in all things together with CrossView Church primarily to the city of LA and the
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3 Responses to Top 10 Mistakes Preachers Make

  1. Mark Myles says:

    I WAY over assume when I preach. I tend to forget that no one has studied and read what I did in the last week, month, year, etc.

  2. Bryan Stoudt says:

    As a seminary grad and pastor working with medical students, I could really identify with these ten errors. I’d add an eleventh – not connecting the text enough to where people are actually living. In other words, not doing enough application. Since I’m preaching this morning, I hope to follow my own advice. Thanks for your post and blog, PJ.

    • pjtibayan says:

      Thanks for the comment brother. I appreciate that 11th mistake and have been guilty of that myself. Where is your church? What seminary did you graduate from?

      In Christ,
      PJ

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