What Is and Not a Sermon

Here’s a helpful clarification:

A sermon only exists when it is preached. By definition, a sermon is an oral presentation. That means it is spoken. Though we refer to outlines and transcripts or manuscripts as “sermon,” technically they are not sermons. An outline is the plan for a sermon. A manuscript is the script for a sermon. A transcript is the report of a sermon. But only an oral presentation in the moment is a sermon.


A sermon is an oral presentation of theological truths to a particular audience at a particular time. The sermon does not come into existence until it is preached. It is only finished when the final word is said.

Wayne McDill, 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2006), 201-202.


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