Jerry Vines: How I Preach

January 18th, 2016| Topic: aBeLOG, How I Preach | 0

Jerry Vines: How I Preach

Jerry Vines: And this is How I Preach

[Jerry Vines is at the forefront of anything to do with preaching, particularly in the Baptist tradition. Author of a number of preaching books, he’s also twice been the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, steering it into a more conservative organization. Jerry has been in the pastorate for over five decades, preaching regularly (he delivered his first sermon in 1950!). Since retiring in 2005, he continues to maintain an active preaching schedule. Yet for all his achievements, the man is modest and unassuming, and quite willing to take on another interview, here on How I Preach. Here is Jerry Vines ….]

Jerry Vines

Jerry Vines Ministries

Current gig (preaching, teaching, etc.) and years at it:
Retired after 50+ years in the pastorate, last at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL (I served for 24 years).
Itinerant ministry currently, engaging in expository preaching.

Who or what made you want to preach:
I had a definite call from God to preach (1 Tim 1:12; Acts 13:2).

Who are you most indebted to for making you the preacher you are (besides God)?
I have been benefited by many, among them W. A. Criswell, Stephen Olford, Warren Wiersbe, and John Phillips.

Most used English Bible version:
I use the KJV in my preaching, not because I am a “KJV Only.” Rather, it is the version I have preached from and memorized from since I was a 16-year-old preacher. At 78, I’ve decided to stay with it.

 Use of Greek and Hebrew (light/moderate/heavy)?
I suppose moderate, maybe heavy with the Greek.
I’ve remained a student of the languages throughout my ministry.

Current computer(s)/device(s)/software that you use for preaching prep?
I have Logos™. But I prefer Olive Tree software because of its simplicity.
I am doing more study on my iPad (the ability to adjust the font for my eyesight issues really helps).

What tools/aids for sermon prep can’t you live without (books? software?)?
Individual volumes on various books of the Bible.
Software noted above.

One word that best describes how you prepare to preach:

One word that best describes how you preach:

What does your workspace look like when you are prepping?
I pretty much have books all over my study desk.

Illustrations: Where do you go for them and how do you store them?
I usually try to get illustrations from Scripture, current events, and personal experience.
I find illustration books very unhelpful.
Unfortunately, I have not had a very good filing system for my illustrations.

Tell us your sermon-prep routine.
I followed the pattern of preaching through books of the Bible. The Old Testament books encompassed larger portions of text. In the New Testament it was virtually verse by verse. After I prayerfully selected the Bible book, and divided it into preaching paragraphs, I used this process:

I sought to answer 3 questions:

What does the passage say?
What does the passage mean?
What does the passage tell me and my listeners to do?

Investigation (What does the passage say?):
Read the passage over and over again in many English versions and original languages.
I try to read it prayerfully, intelligently and imaginatively.

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?):
Do word studies.
Look up parallel references.
Perform textual, contextual, grammatical, historical, theological work.
Only after all of this did I consult commentaries. If my interpretation differed from all respected commentaries, I took another look at my interpretation! I might have come upon something unique, but I’d doubt it!

Application (What does the passage tell me and my listeners to do?):
Create very practical, down to earth application.
I try to use illustration, reason, etc. to apply the message.

After this process, I sought to put the message into some form that could be delivered in a simple, understandable manner to my listeners.
For more details, check out my Power In The Pulpit.

Average numbers of prep hours per sermon?
During the years of my pastorate, about 20 hours per message.

What’s your best time-saving trick?
I have carefully kept notes of all previous study. Very helpful when digging into passages I have previously preached.

What time of the day are you most effective?
I begin my sermon prep early in the morning (5:30–6:00 am), after my devotions and breakfast.
I normally prepare until around noon.
I sometimes study late night when no one else is awake.

Any props used regularly in sermons? PowerPoint? Handout?
In my last pastorate I did quite a bit, utilizing our media folks for help with pictures, videos, etc.
Frankly, I grew weary of it.
In my itinerant ministry I almost never use any props.

No notes/some notes/extensive notes (manuscript)?
No notes.
(I prayerfully internalize my notes, then trust God to help me deliver the message without them.)

Who critiques your sermons, beside yourself?
Church members, mostly.
My wife did some; she was probably too easy on me!

How has your preaching improved over time?
Hopefully, I know how to remove the least vital content and not be so wordy and lengthy!

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Not sure of that one.

What do you listen to while you work?

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

What are you currently reading?
Some of Frank Boreham’s sermons.
David McCullough, Mornings on Horseback
Rereading Gary Pratico and Miles Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew
Constantine Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek
Abraham Kuruvilla, A Vision for Preaching
John Dickerson, The Great Evangelical Recession
Steven Smith, Recapturing the Voice of God
Et cetera

What do you wish you had learned when you were in seminary?
How to do exposition.

Exercise routine? Sleep routine?
Treadmill, 3 days per week, 3½ miles each time.
Weights, 2 days per week.
I try to get 8 hours of sleep per night (not always possible when I travel).

Spiritual disciplines?
Morning devotional time (prayer and Scripture).
Reading through the Old Testament once a year, and the New Testament twice a year.

Favorite food?
Southern home cooking.

What you do when you aren’t involved in preaching-related activities?
Working out.
Ministering to hurting pastors.
Talking with friends.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Give your mornings to God, your afternoons to the church, and your evenings to your family.”

Fill in the blank. I’d love to see ________ answer these same questions.
Jimmy Draper
Ed Young, Sr.
O. S. Hawkins

Anything else you’d like to add?
I am honored to be asked to participate in this project. I pray it will be helpful to many preachers!

[For the rest of this series, How I Preach (several months’ worth) see here.]

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