Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exegeting The Text For Preaching

Sherman Cox is the founder of, the only website of its kind devoted to helping preachers perfect their preaching gift in the African American preaching tradition. offers resources and free web-based seminars on various aspects of preaching, from How to Open or Close A Sermon to Preaching Without Notes. In this short video presentation, Sherman discusses the four waves of exegeting a text for preaching:

Wave 1 - Capture your initial interaction with the text before other documents and people have influenced you. Begin with prayer. Ask the Lord to help you determine what is needed for your audience. Capture anything that comes to your mind, stories, hymns, songs, everything.

Wave 2 - Find out as much as you can out of the text. Do a more indepth reading of the text, characters, plotline. What is God doing? What are the people doing? Who has the power in the text? Who is the author? Who was the author speaking to? Don't look in commentaries or dictionaries. You don't want to find out what others have said yet.

Wave 3 - Research to see what others have said. Wesley, Calvin, Martin Luther. Interact with your tradition. What have other preachers said on this particular text? Now you are refining your ideas as you go through the text. Enrich your study with what others have said about the text.

Wave 4 - Do a senses exegesis. How does the text make you feel? What are the emotions that come out? What are the characters feeling? How does the author feel about what the characters are feeling. Now look at the sights and sounds in the text. What do you see in the text? What are the smells of the prodigal son in the pig pen, for example?

Start with creativity in phase one, and by phase three you are more intellectual, but my phase four you are bringing more creativity back into the process.

About Elder Sherman Haywood Cox, II:
Elder Sherman Haywood Cox II is the founder and director of SoulPreaching.Com which is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a native of Huntsville, Alabama. He was ordained to the office of Elder at the Oakwood College Seventh-day Adventist Church in December, 1992 and has preached in churches of many denominations and ethnic traditions since that time.

He possesses a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Math and a Master of Science in Computer Science both from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In 2008 he completed the requirements for a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School with an Emphasis in Homiletics. He also received the Kelly Miller Smith Institute Certificate in Black Church Studies in May 2009. Finally, he was awarded the Florence Conwell Prize for outstanding work in the area of Preaching at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in May 2009. Thus Elder Cox is uniquely qualified to the work of SoulPreaching.Com in that he has postgraduate education in both preaching and computer technology. In addition, Elder Cox believes and teaches the importance of education for those who are called to do the work of God in this contemporary world.

For more information on preaching in the African American tradition, click on

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves!


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