Summary: Expound a Bible Chapter

Lesson Goal

In this lesson I want to encourage the exposition of a whole chapter or a similar larger passage of Scripture.

Lesson Intro

Sometimes stepping back and getting a broader view of things, provides perspective and insight that getting lost in details does not.

Lesson Plan

In this lesson I propose to explain what kind of chapter can be useful for a sermon, and how to deal with a sermon that paints a larger picture.

Lesson Body

1. Not all Chapters are Alike

When choosing a chapter or similar large section of Scripture for a sermon, it is best to see it as a larger pericope. It must have a natural beginning and ending. Because the Bible originally had no chapters, some chapters are simply awkward and the natural thought ending is either before or after the chapter ends. Choose a natural unit.

2. The Chapter Outline becomes the Sermon Outline

A chapter usually contains several smaller pericopes. However, these pericopes can also become the points of a sermon. The headings that are inserted in many modern translations may also form a suggested sermon outline, but may or may not be the specific points that God leads you to expound for your sermon.

3. Giving Your Chapter a Subject

Does the chapter have a natural subject? Usually a chapter of Scripture will have a natural subject. Sometimes reading a commentary will help in this regard. This is where the less detailed commentaries can be helpful, because each chapter summary is often like a sermon.

4. Reading the Chapter

In this kind of sermon it is not necessarily practical to read the entire chapter aloud. It may be, but that would be your decision. However, normally there are parts that could be read very effectively. For instance if there is a constant theme that is said in different ways, read those verses aloud, or if there are verses that particularly emphasize a point, read them aloud. This will require creativity and planning. Don't just read aloud haphazardly. Think ahead of time, which verses would be most important to read. I usually color in a chapter with various colored pencils emphasizing different aspects of the chapter. That makes it easy for me to then pick out the sections I want to read aloud.

5. Advanced Preaching

If you have prepared well and are a more advanced preacher, then I challenge you to leave your notes at home, and preach from the chapter without notes. This is where having colored the chapter with coloring pencils helps tremendously to keep you organized and on track.

Example Sermon

Title: "Our Responsibilities"


To teach our individual responsibility towards heaven.


In the 1500's, Protestants and Catholics were divided over works. Protestants accused Catholics of teaching salvation by works. That is actually false. They teach that saving faith is a faith that is alive with good works, because faith without works is dead. Protestants usually say that saving faith produces good works. We are really not that far apart on the issue. Both Catholics and Protestants understand that believers have a responsibility to do good works.


We will look at Matthew 25 and examine what Christ says on the topic of good works and our responsibility towards heaven. We will look at 3 responsibilities, to spiritual maintenance, to personal growth, and towards others.


1. Be Prepared (Matthew 25:1-13)

This parable introduces us to a 50% ratio of foolish believers to wise believers. The 50% foolish were not prepared. The olive oil was running out and they were not making sure that there was a replenishing supply. We could take the meaning of the oil from another context, where it is used as a metaphor for various things like gladness, healing, anointing to an office, etc. However, it is dangerous to try and squeeze an analogy from one context into another, where the meaning may be different. Here we are only told that Jesus did not know those who had no oil, so it is important to see the context as one of knowing Jesus and him knowing us.


This parable makes a difference between the ready and the not ready. The ready were prepared. How can we be prepared? In spending time getting to know God on a personal basis, we are going to the source of that spiritual oil. How do we get to know God? Regular prayer and reading of his word are two very important ways to know Jesus. If we are diligent in being ready for the bridegroom, he will say that he knows us. That is a remarkable thought.

I hope we all will listen to Jesus' warning ... [Read aloud verse 13 and segue into the next point.]

2. Be Faithful (Matthew 25:14-30)

This parable introduces us to spiritual currency. A talent was worth about 6,000 days wages, about 20 years pay, or by analogy a million dollars. God gives us a measure of spiritual currency when he gives us various gifts. He asks us what we are doing with what we have. They may be one of the gifts specifically mentioned in the various lists of spiritual gifts, or they may be some other gifts entirely. The parable mentions that God does not give equally. God is not a Communist.

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