The next pattern in Ron Allen’s work, Patterns of Preaching is entitled Preaching on a Biblical Theme.

When To Preach a Theme?

When the idea that one wishes to preach is not explicitly stated in one text, or is best found in a combination of texts, the preacher might make use of this pattern. Allen notes that one should not reduce this to a “word study.” A thematic sermon is best seen as a theological study of a larger theme and not just a comparison of how a word is defined or used throughout the Bible.

The text of the sermon, in this approach, is the theme itself. The preacher is exploring and defining the theme rather than any individual text.

How To Preach a Theme?

The preacher searches for passages that address a particular theme. The preacher then tries to understand what the differences, and similarities in the many passages help us understand about the theme.


A thematic sermon can help the community see a diversity of voices on the theme as well as teach systematically on a particular doctrine or idea. In addition, the preacher can more directly address something that needs to be addressed in the congregation. However, one must be careful not to limit ones proclamation to a hobby-horse.

1 thought on “Preaching Patterns – A Bible Theme

  1. I especially enjoyed the ‘lesson’ on theme preaching. I recently experienced a service where the preacher really should have ‘stuck’ to the theme. He was relatively disrespectful in the message delivery and touched subjects that should have been ‘reserved’ for the Pastor. I processed my thoughts and concerns with my pastor who agreed. Reminder, this is the same preacher who has serious objections to and with seminary and/or formal training. Clearly, he could benefit from both!

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