"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.VI Pg.11a
June 1948

Sermon Outlines For Sale? No!

By C. R. Nichol

In my effort to teach a group of y o u n g preachers, I said, in part:

My young brethren I think it may be timely for you to make an "outline of the sermon" you will preach next Sunday-it seems necessary that some men have a written outline, and consult it while speaking. I advise that if you use a written "outline" you destroy it so soon as you reach your home, or at he first convenient place—tear the "outline" as it appears on the paper you use, into bits and throw it into the wastebasket, or fire. At least destroy the "outline."

If you wish you may keep a record of the sermon-the "name" by which you designate the subject discussed; but do not keep the sermon "notes", or "outline."

The habit formed of preaching from "notes," or an "outline" leads one to depend on the "outline." To preserve the "outline" or, "notes" has a tendency to make of you a poor student. The "outline" if filed away has made more than one preacher grow stale. You spend a year or two in some place laboring with a congregation, preaching twice each Sunday, and filing away your "outlines." Then you remove to some other city to labor with another congregation; and there is the tendency on the part of some to rely on the "outlines" used in the former place they have labored. You thumb through the filed outlines you have, look over the notes, review them and re-preach the same sermon, you make no further investigation, but depend on the notes you have made; and as a result you make no further preparation. Such will never result in your becoming a Bible scholar.

I regret that there has ever been published a book of "Sermon Outlines." Too many preachers rely entirely on the "Outlines" without having devoted any time to real study in the preparation of a lesson. Some other man has outlined for you what to say, and you become, in a large measure a follower of that man in the presentation of the sermon. The "outline" may be a good one-though I have never seen a "Sermon Outline" that I would give space in my library, nor an outline that I could use using the "outlines" prepared by some other will never make of you a Bible scholar. In a measure you become a parrot.

I do not intend to question the desire of those who make and sell "Sermon Outlines" to do good; but I think they have ruined a, number of young men who might have become real Bible scholars had they been made to study for themselves the Bible.

Were I financially able I would buy every book of "Sermon Outlines" my brethren have published, and burn them to ashes, and then discourage the publication of any more such books.

Study your Bible my brother.

It may be well to keep a record of the title of a sermon you preach, but do not keep the "outline." Restudy the subject from beginning to end. Do not allow the "outline" to become a part of you, and make you a stereotype speaker, Do not rely on others to do your thinking in constructing the sermon you are to deliver to the people, making the impression on the audience that your lesson delivered is the result of your study.

Study your Bible, rather than "Sermon Outlines."

It has not been many moons since I saw a statement in one of our papers that a brother had it in his heart to publish a book of "sermon outlines"—his sermon outlines. I trust he may experience a "change of heart" before he publishes them—and publish them not!

Study your Bible. Make the BIBLE your source book.