How To Write An Outline

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					                        III. How to Write an Outline
* An outline is a general sketch of a sermon. Details added to an outline affect the main topic’s
development, as well as the content’s accuracy and richness.

   A. Principles of Outline Writing

       1. Accuracy: Use a theme as the central idea of an outline, do not add irrelevant materials to
       the outline

       2. Unity: relates to a theme, in a clear, hierarchical manner, contains clearly defined
       relationship between main sections and subdivisions

       3. Parallelism: Parallel structures, sentences, format, and symbols

       4. Balance: Balanced sections, appropriate transitional words and phrases

       5. Logic: The main points have to be clear, concise and logical, to help people understand and
       remember the message better.

   B. Types of Outlines

       1. Chronological arrangement: Arrange an outline in the chronology of events and messages

               a. From the beginning to the ending

               b. From the ending to the beginning

               c. From the middle: this method is more suitable for "history" sermons. Begin an
               outline with the climactic moment of an event or a person's life, trace to the beginning,
               and then move to the ending

       E.g. 1 "A Discussion on Personal Faith from the Incidence of Peter Falling Asleep Three

               a. The "first time", he falls asleep on a mountain (inexperienced) - Luke 9:32

               b. "The second time", he falls asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane (Not watchful) -
               Mark 14:37

               c. The "third time" he falls asleep in the prison (undoubting faith) - Acts 12:6
E.g. 2 " The Three Periods of Moses' Life"

        a. The first "forty years" as a prince of Egypt (Acts 7:22-23)

        b. The second "forty years" as a shepherd in the land of Madian (Acts 7:29-30)

        c. The third "forty years" as a leader in the wilderness (Acts 7:36)

2. Spatial arrangement: Arrange an outline in the spatial order of events

E.g. "Follow Jesus"

        a. Follow Jesus to the manger - learning humility

        b. Follow Jesus to the wilderness - learning how to prayer

        c. Follow Jesus to the world – learning how to love your neighbor

        d. Follow Jesus to the garden - learning submission

        e. Follow Jesus to Golgotha - learning how to sacrifice

3. Cause-and-effect arrangement: arrange an outline in the order of cause and effect, or reverse
the order and arrange effect before cause

E.g. "Gihazi's Greed for Money" (2 Kings 5:15-27)

        a. Causes of Gehazi's greed for money (15-20)

        b. Motivations behind Gehazi's greed for money (26)

        c. Gehazi's acts of greed for money (21-26)

        d. Consequences of Gehahi's greed for money (26-27)

4. Problem-solution arrangement: Identify a problem then provide a solution step by step

E.g. "Honor Your Parents"

        a. What – Definition (What is piety?)

        b. Why - Why is it necessary (Why should we honor our parents?)
           c. How - How can we put it to practice? (How should we honor our parents?)

   5. Level of complexity: Arrange an outline by level of complexity, from simple to complex,
   from inside to outside, from easy to hard

   E.g. 1 "Power of the Gospel"

           a. The gospel can change a person - gives a new life, a new heart, and a new direction

           b. The gospel can change a family - individuals are basic building blocks of family

           c. The gospel can change a society – families are basic building blocks of society

   E.g. 2 "The Criminal on the Cross" (Luke 23:43)

           a. You will be in Paradise

           b. You will be with me in Paradise

           c. Today you will be with me in Paradise

   6. Categorical arrangements: arrange an outline by categories of peoples, events, and/or things

   E.g. "Three Types of Danger that We Should Avoid" (Jude 11)

           a. The way of Cain

           b. The error of Balaam

           c. The rebellion of Korah

   7. Bible text: arrange an outline in the same order as presented in the text

   E.g. "Who is Jesus?" (Luke 14:6)

           a. Jesus is the Way

           b. Jesus is the Truth

           c. Jesus is the Life

C. Secrets of Writing Outlines
      1. Thesis statement:

              a. Be specific and concise: it is better to use few words and few many adjectives

              b. Parallelism: If possible, major headings should be expressed in parallel form, use
              same basis of division at each rank

              E.g. "You Are the Salt of the World" –

                      Maintain Salt's Characteristics

                      Exemplify Salt's Functions

                      Imitate Salt's Spirit

              c. transitional words and phrases: "First", "next", "furthermore", "besides", "lastly,
              "one additional point", "not only so", "in conclusion"

      2. Craft subdivisions into beautiful sentences.

              a. Check if subdivisions have equal weight

              b. Check if subdivisions are related to the thesis