This is my short list on how to prepare the material for preaching:
1. If you have a topic given -search through the bible or topical bible for appropriate text. If without topic-always go for sermon series on a book or group of passages.
2. Read the text-and search is logical and natural boundaries.Then read it again -same translation. By the time you are finish ,you have read the passage a minimum of 6 times.
3. For initial reading-I use NIV.The n subsequent reading can be in this versions-NASB,ESV,RSV,NEB,NLT,NKJV,NAB,JB,GNB
4. Then start reading the Greek or Hebrew text-With your reading from the English versions and the original language-you will be able to see what word or group of words stand out or odd. Check its meaning and grammatical information. Use synchronic and diachronic methods in word meanings.
5. I use my computer softwares like Esword 7 , The Word and ISA software here too-for ease of study. It is free anyway.
6. Read Study Bibles, encyclopedia,dictionaries and commentaries for cultural,archaeological and theological comments.
7. Then make an outline based on the following :
a. Introduction-tell a story showing relevance of the passage at hand
b. Contextual info-give a short drift on cultural and historical milieu of the passage
c. Give the 2-4 major points of the passage. Provide details of the passage. Interpret the passage with regards to its context-and then compare it to the canonical-biblio-theological and Christological point of view.
d. Give appropriate illustrations for each of the major points-using nature, current news, stories from real life or from the bible or even from Reader’s Digest.
e. Make applications or examples of the all the major points-considering different type of people listening to you-inquirers, faithful members, pharisees and those who want to leave.
f. Restate your main points
g. Conclude with your main verse and with a prayer.
8. Restart – by thinking about the One Big Idea of your message and make changes in your message-showing this emphasis.Also check how long your message is . Ideal is 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Edit out unsynchronized ideas.
9. Finally- from the start you must be in prayer mode-and to the finish your heart must be also in the guarded mode. You will be tempted to show off your talent-resist it. The only voice that must be heard is God in Christ. Not you. Hide behind His Glory.