I studied Daniel 3 to preach last week. During my reading and research, I take note of every homiletical outline I come across. It helps me in sermon preparation to see how others organize the text for preaching.
I was particularly curious to see how others preachers have treated Daniel 3, for several reasons. First of all, it’s Daniel 3 – the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace! If you mess this story up, someone should revoke your ordination! But Old Testament narrative is not my strength. And I had to find a way to put my arms away around all 30 verses of the chapter.
As I was studying the text, I ran into the same outline repeatedly. As far as I could tell, Jerry Vines’ Exploring the Book of Daniel commentary with John Phillips is the original source of the outline. But a lot of guys use it. It’s in commentaries. It’s in books of sermons. And it’s in various sermons I found online.
- They would not bow.
- They would not bend.
- They would not burn.
When I first read this outline, I thought it was a perfect summary of the chapter. I fully understood why many guys use it. But I couldn’t bring myself to just lift it for my preaching.
Toward the end of my work, I read Ray Pritchard’s sermon on Daniel 3, entitled, “A Time to Disobey.” Pritchard used the bow, bend, burn outline, but with a difference. It is a simple example of pulpit integrity. When he transitions to his outline, Pritchard writes:
“With all of that as background, let’s turn to the text itself. I am using a simple outline I borrowed from Jerry Vines. When I saw it, I realized I could not improve upon it. It goes like this: They would not Bow, They would not Bend, They would not Burn.”