Just a few years ago, many of Tim Keller’s sermon manuscripts were all on paper. He talked about this in a sermon in 1994:
In my life, I have about a thousand sermons I wrote from about 1975 to 1985 that are all written on paper, hard copy. They’re not on any disk. They’re all there. That’s it. I spent 10 to 20 hours on each one of those things, and they’re all in one basic long file drawer. I look at that and I shudder sometimes. I say, “What would happen?”
They may still be sitting there in a drawer somewhere, but things have changed. I know have over 1,200 of his sermons in my Logos library, as well as 1,300 of John Piper’s sermons, not to mention hundreds of sermons by Charles Spurgeon and now Greg Laurie.
Here’s what’s good about this: I have an embarrassment of riches with me everywhere I go, as long as I have my phone, tablet, or computer with me. As I prepared my sermon for tonight, I was able to study the text, read many of the best commentaries, and then check out what great preachers did with the text. I can search within the sermon archives I own, or browse them by date, series, or by Scripture reference. For instance, check out some of Greg Laurie’s sermons on Philippians:
I don’t know Laurie that well, and his preaching style is probably different from mine, but that is a good thing. I appreciate seeing what someone who is different than me did with the text.
Logos does a great job of explaining how it works at their site.
It’s easy to access sermons by passage.
- Open Guides > Passage Guide.
- Enter a Passage in the Reference Box — e.g. James 1
- Scroll down to the “Sermons” section. You may need to click the triangle to expand it.
- Click on any blue sermon title to open the associated sermon entry.
Each sermon title will display the passage it covers and some may include the date when they were preached. Here’s what it looks like for the passage I preached last weekend:
Any good thing can be abused. I never want to begin a sermon my reading how others preached the text. Nothing can replace the preacher’s own wrestling with the text before turning to commentaries and the sermons of others. Also, it’s never a good to preach someone else’s sermon as your own. At some point in the process, however, it does help to see how other capable preachers have handled the text. It can spark ideas and sharpen the sermons that we are about to preach.
There’s value, too, in having these sermons in Logos. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of what this program is able to do, but I can’t imagine doing without it.
Getting the job done requires that we have the right tools. Logos is a tool I’ve come to love. If you are a preacher or a serious student of the Bible, I encourage you to take a look at the sermon archives that they have available.
Thanks to Logos for giving me a copy of Greg Laurie’s sermon archives to review.