Homiletics of Expository Preaching and Teaching–Part 2 Types of Expository Outlines: Exegetical and Homiletical

In a previous blog, I shared initial thoughts about and the general organization of expository outlines.  This week, I will go deeper by describing how and why we should create certain types and formats of outlines for expository preaching and teaching.

Types of Expository Outlines:  Exegetical and Homiletical

Sermon preparation consists of two broad categories of outlining:  the exegetical outline and the homiletical outline.  Jeffrey Arthurs distinguishes them as follows:  “the exegetical outline resides in the world of the text, and the homiletical outline resides in the world of the listener.” 1
In other words, exegetical outlines reflect the chronological order and natural flow of scripture as  appears while homiletical outlines reflect the topical, practical, and paraphrased order of scripture. 

Format of Drafted and Final Expository Outlines

I separate expository outlines into two broad categories of drafted and final.  This doesn’t mean, however, that there’s only one draft:  it’s very possible to have multiple drafts before creating a final one.  I highly recommend naming and saving each draft file differently, regardless of whether you use a word processing program that’s online or on your computer, i.e. Draft 1, Draft 2, etc.  One benefit is that it’s very possible that you’ll want to insert sections that you originally thought you wouldn’t include in your final draft.

Format of a Drafted Expository Outline

The process of drafting an expository outline is based on proper hermeneutics and exegesis.  The rough draft differs in the purpose and order of information compared to that of a final draft.  Below are sample outlines.


  1. Expositional Study:  Phase 1
    1. Observation leading to exegetical outline that acknowledges the passages and/or book’s big/central idea based on the order in which scripture verses appear.
    2. Interpretation leading to drafting of homiletical outlineThesis (Refined and Concise Big/Central Idea Statement)


  2. Thesis (Refined and Concise Big/Central Idea Statement)


  3. Expositional Study:  Phase 2
    1. Review of Phase 1 process and revision of homiletical outline
    2. Development of application


  4. Appropriate Illustrations


  5. Introduction and Conclusion


  6. Title  2 


  7. Formation of Final Expository Outline 

Format of a Final Expository Outline

Notice the subtle but important differences in the final expository outline.  Final expository outlines are based on an homiletics approach to revising the rough draft and consists of the following:


  1. Introduction
    1. Greeting the congregation
    2. Reading of scriptural text
    3. Telling context of scriptural text
    4. Sharing thesis about scriptural text


  2. Expositional Preaching
    1. Observation
    2. Interpretation
    3. Application


  3. Conclusion



Closing Thoughts
Having laid a foundation regarding rough (exegetical) outlines and final (homiletical) outlines, I will focus the next lesson on how to walk through this process using exercises based on
2 Timothy 4:1-5.

1  Arthurs, Jeffrey, et al. “Five Hammer Strokes for Creating Expository Sermon Outlines.” Preaching Today, Christianity Today, www.preachingtoday.com
2 McDougall, Donald G. “Central Ideas, Outlines, and Titles.” Rediscovering Expository Preaching. Edited by John MacArthur. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1992. 239-241. Print.

One Response to “Homiletics of Expository Preaching and Teaching–Part 2 Types of Expository Outlines: Exegetical and Homiletical”

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