When I was coming up and learning the ropes of being preacher, it was drilled into my head that in order to be Biblical we must preach expositionally. For the most part, the phrase expositional preaching came to mean preaching paragraph by paragraph through a book of the Bible. There is great merit for this kind of preaching and I convinced that it should remain the bread and butter of our preaching ministry. There are times, however, when we need to preach a series of topical messages. When dealing with a doctrinal issue such as the trinity or perhaps the attributes of God, a topical approach fits much better. Also there are times throughout the year when I will want to deal with things like family or financial issues. In these instances, a topical approach works much better. But the question remains, how do make sure that we stay Biblical while preaching topically? Here are few suggestions that I have come up with:
1.) Make a list of relevant passages that deal with the topic that you want to deal with– this is an important first step. Instead of sitting down and writing out a list of things you want to say about the topic, start with making a list of passages. I use a concordance or topical Bible to find passages dealing with my topic. Logos Bible study software is particularly helpful with this step.
2.) Do an exegetical study of each of the passages- Here I will use the same methods and approaches that would when preaching through a book. The key is to perform a careful expositional study of each passage. I start with making observations about the text, then I move to interpretation and finally application. THIS IS KEY- let the passage speak. Don’t force the BIble to say what you want to about a subject.
3.) Identify how the gospel is reflected in each of the passages– How does this passages reflect the fallen condition of man? How does it point us to the grace of Jesus? How does the passage call us to repentance and faith?
4.) Organize the number and sequence of messages to fit your preaching schedule– Most topical series fit best into 4, 6, or 8 week units. You need to carefully decide how many messages you are going to preach on the subject, when you preach on the calendar, and then chose the individual passages that you want to preach.
Obviously, there is much more that we could say about this subject but this should give you some idea about how to stay Biblical while preaching topical sermon series.