Story Structure

When a preacher begins to meditate on sermon development often story structure is on his mind. Being able to see what God is calling one to preach brings confidence to the work that lies before you.

You know where you are going. This gives the preacher a sense of what he needs to do. Let the Spirit speak to you about the story structure; the Holy Scriptures are very different and may not easily lend themselves to the conventional style and form of story structure.

Nevertheless, we will start with a contemporary understanding of the story structures. (Later we offer sermon development using this style from a “Manuel on Preaching”).

Simple stories tend to be very formulaic. In other words, simple stories can be put into three basic parts:

The Beginning

The Middle

The End

Once the preacher understands the beginning, middle and end he pretty much knows where God is leading him to preach from in this text.

However, biblical sermons tend to have much more complex structures in them because God is complex and multidimensional in His thinking.

Fundamentally, there are numerous sermons in each structure in a biblical passage. When you tell God’s story it's much more fulfilling than say a story like ”Little Red Riding Hood”,” The Wizard of Oz” or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Biblical stories are life changing.

When you break them down further the structure looks likes this:

Act I

Introduction (text/subject/characters)

Rising Action (situation)

Act II

Complications (sin problems)

Crisis (sin results)


Climax (what happened)

Resolution (gospel resolve)

Celebration (of God’s grace)

We have only touched on the surface of story structure here.

To learn more about story style in preaching click here.

Related Reference Books

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