The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

Preaching Crib Sheet

Alan, in Liverpool, one of my preaching students, blessed my heart so much today by sending me a document he has put together which is a resume of what he has learned from my teaching over the last couple of years in a monthly online preachers course. I was so blessed and encouraged I thought I would bless and encourage others also. I share it with his permission and you can download it here if you wish.

John Brand – School for preachers – Brief summary of main points


  1. Expository preaching = explains, displays, sets forth the truth of the Word
  2. Use biblical illustrations – make them relevant
  3. What, how and why does God say – every passage has a structure – why is the writer saying – look for focal point – find the main theme, don’t impose it – formulate the main theme
  4. Context determines meaning
  5. Make the main theme of passage the main theme of message
  6. Immerse in the passage, engage and know text, meditate, saturate in it – read it over and over – get the big picture, unpack it – absorb detail
  7. Look for plot, people, (characters) speech – identify the intended audience
  8. Reflect the authors intentions
  9. Point out practical applications
  10. Convey message and meaning of original author- find it – what is it saying – how does it apply to life today and how can I express that people will get it
  11. Write it as you intend to speak it
  12. Bring out the purpose of the passage
  13. Be grabbed by passage
  14. Have a healthy appetite for the Word – feed and digest and grow up
  15. The Word of God is means of spiritual birth, growth and maturity (measure) – long for more
  16. Check attitudes, actions and habits that are sinful – don’t dull appetite – make time to read
  17. Prepare well, memorize it


  1. Keep it brief – begin with people not the Bible – they should say ‘why should I listen’ 
  2. Start in their world – engage with people – draw them in – wake them up
  3. Ask a question or make an interesting statement – get them to listen
  4. Introduce your main theme – create interest in what’s to follow
  5. Attract and get maximum attention – arouse sense of need, curiosity and interest
  6. Make them receptive – make them aware they need to listen
  7. Craft the opening sentence – make it simple, intriguing and maintain eye contact
  8. Opening message, why should people listen


  1. Leave stuff out – don’t need to cover everything – don’t make it too broad
  2. Make it connect with the text – be a word-smith
  3. Make it audience orientated
  4. Make it understandable to a seven-year-old – keep it simple and clear
  5. Teach the mind, touch the heart and target the will
  6. Use relevant illustration to drive home truth, to inform, instruct, explain and clarify
  7. Make points part of illustration
  8. Weave application into message
  9. Turn the ear into an eye – help them see what they are hearing
  10. Don’t fill people heads with info – press on their heart’s obedience
  11. Preachers and listeners need structure
  12. One truth = one message = one main theme – one point, apply it to their lives
  13. Point of message must be point of passage – have a point – support it and apply it
  14. Ask questions that are found in the text


  1. Make it good hearing – make it relevant, memorable, positive and effective
  2. Make it interesting, specific, pointed, sharp, simple and intriguing
  3. Address life’s issues – be prescriptive and not descriptive
  4. Don’t speak in a written style
  5. Keep eye contact
  6. Preach from the heart with passion – preach relevance to transform lives
  7. Preach to paint pictures with words in people’s minds, so they can see it
  8. Preach with a sense of urgency – persuade people
  9. Good preaching is with teaching – proclamation, explanation and application
  10. Show you love, care and are concerned for their good
  11. Speak gracious words, rooted in love and care
  12. Have a point, support it and apply it
  13. Tell them what to believe and how to behave
  14. Tell them what they have to do – how it can be applied in everyday life
  15. Relay scripture to what is happening in our world today
  16. Make sure there is a connection between passage and people
  17. Be practical – spell it out – instruction, motivation and enablement
  18. Give them principles they can apply
  19. Teach them how to do the word, walk them through it – have one main application
  20. Move them to a decision – plead, appeal and warn them 
  21. Help them see the danger ahead –
  22. Use words they that people identify with
  23. Be an ambassador, a messenger, speak on behalf of Christ – “Thus says the Lord”
  24. He who hears you, hears Me and he who rejects you, rejects Me


  1. Turn the ear into an eye – use imagery – paint pictures with words – help them see what they are hearing
  2. Illuminate the point – use biblical illustrations, make them relevant and more interesting / inspiring
  3. Use stories from real life
  4. Illustration drives home truth until it sinks in, it informs, instructs, explains and clarifies.
  5. Illustration helps preachers connect with their listeners, helps capture and regain interest / attention.
  6. Illustration helps motivate and convince -it aids recall to the meaning of the passage


  1. Be a good communicator – make it interesting
  2. Watch your voice– vary speech, speed, tone, pitch, volume
  3. Watch your mannerisms, facial expressions, gestures, body language, appearance and posture
  4. Speak with authority and affection
  5. Be yourself – be serious – be clear
  6. Preach from the heart
  7. Paint pictures with words
  8. Preach in a way that makes the most impact to transform lives


  1. Identify application intended for original readers
  2. Give them principles they can apply – truths that enable us to put into practice
  3. Weave in application – have one main application
  4. Apply one dominant theme to their lives
  5. Have a point – support it – apply it, to everyday life
  6. Lesson to be put into practice
  7. Depend on the Holy Spirit and prayer


  1. Spell out the main theme – review and summarize content
  2. Gather up main thrust of message
  3. Leave listeners with an awareness of their response – conclude quickly
  4. Hammer home the main theme – spell it out
  5. Help people do something with the message – impress obedience
  6. Make closing hymn relate to message


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