Handling the Word

9.3.2016 | Training for Leadership, Training for Ministry,


This course provides an introduction to communicating God’s Word in Bible talks/sermons.

Be equipped to communicate God’s Word

The Handling the Word course is open to all church members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The course provides an introduction to communicating God’s Word in Bible talks/sermons.

There is no requirement for previous experience to attend the course but those who have experience will also benefit. The course is run over six sessions of two hours each which could be run over six evenings or two Saturdays. Course are organised and run locally by Presbyteries apart from one course run centrally in Belfast on an annual basis. Courses run by Presbyteries are normally open to those outside the Presbytery.

Course Content

The course will delivered through lectures and workshops. The workshops will be based on Mark and Philippians and by the end of the course participants should be able to prepare several Bible talks based on these two books as well as understanding the principles for speaking from other similar books of the Bible.

   Session Content
Session 1: The Foundation for Preaching: What is the Word? Looking at what the Bible is and why it is the foundation for preaching.
Session 2: Preaching Defined Understanding the dynamics of preaching and what makes a good Bible talk/sermon.
Session 3: Discovering the Message: Finding the Problem and Revealing the Solution Interpreting the Bible passage in order to prepare a message.
Session 4: Shaping the Message: Building a Biblical Talk Structuring a biblical talk and ensuring it has one clear focus.
Session 5: Considering the Hearers Learning to consider the hearers and where they are with God.
Session 6: Considering the Preacher Understanding the importance of the preacher’s reliance on the work of God in his/her life.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions about ‘Handling the Word’:

I’ve never given a Bible talk before, is this course for me?

If you feel you would like to learn about how to prepare and deliver a Bible talk then come on the course. You might discover you have a gift in this area or it might simply help you understand the Bible better.

I’ve given a Bible talk or sermon a few times, is this course for me?

Yes this course is definitely for you. It will develop you at this formative stage in giving Bible talks or sermons and also help you work out if this is an area you are gifted in and want to pursue further.

I’ve been preaching for years, is this course for me?

Yes this course is for you too. Some of the material may not be new to you and will act as a refresher. It is also likely there will be something that will be new to help you develop in some aspect of your preaching.

Will I receive opportunities to preach/give a talk after the course?

This really depends on you and those who may be able to give you opportunities for example, giving a Bible talk to a youth fellowship or to a Presbyterian Women meeting. Hopefully the course will help you do this if you receive an opportunity.

How does this course fit in with the Accredited Preacher course?

Normally you must have attended the Handling the Word course in order to be accepted onto the Accredited Preacher Scheme. Records of attendance for all participants are kept so that if they apply to the Accredited Preacher Scheme this can be checked. An attendance of at least five out of the six sessions is required.

When and where will the next Handling the Word courses be?

Please check the upcoming events section on this website for details of Presbytery or central courses. Presbytery courses are normally open to people in other Presbyteries. Presbytery courses should also be advertised within Presbyteries in your congregation.

How do I register?

You should register with the contact person given in the course details – this will vary depending on whether it is a Presbytery course or a central course. To register you will have to fill in a form with your contact details, pay the course fee and ask your Minister or the Clerk of Session to sign the form stating that you are a communicant member of your congregation.

How much does the course cost?

Presbyteries will set their own course cost. Central courses in Belfast will normally cost £30 per person. This is subsidised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and does not reflect the full cost of the course.

Is there any assessment involved?

No, this is purely a learning experience. All participants who attend at least five out of the six sessions will receive a certificate.