Resurrection and the end times appeared six times more often as sermon topics in 2021 than in 2020, perhaps demonstrating the internal and external tensions faced by churches in a post-pandemic era.
An analysis of more than 91,000 sermons posted to Faithlife Sermons, a provider of church worship software, last year found the most common topics in 2021 were similar to those in 2020, including God, Jesus, love, power, faith and glory.
However, several topics saw drastic increases in popularity compared to 2020, according to Faithlife. Those topics were:
- Eschatology/resurrection (six times more popular)
- Grace (four times more popular)
- Family and children
“Torn between fear, hope, and simply surviving, preachers dedicated many of their sermons to helping their congregations understand how Scripture applied to their struggles,” the “2021 Year-End Song & Sermon Report” from Faithlife noted.
The trending passages from 2021 included:
- Appreciation of the Mystery: Ephesians 3:14–21 (26% increase)
- Christ Prays for His Disciples: John 17:6–19
- Christ Answers Philip: John 14:8–21
- Peter’s Sermon + A Vital Church Grows: Acts 2:14–39, 40–47
- Be Strong in Grace: 2 Timothy 2:1–13
The passages used most in 2021 sermons are all from the New Testament and are some of the most well-known passages overall:
- John 3:16
- Matthew 28:18–20
- Ephesians 2:8
- Acts 1:8
- John 1:1
- John 14:6
- Romans 5:8
- Galatians 5:22–23
- Philippians 2:8
- Romans 12:1
The most used Old Testament passage was Isaiah 9:6.
The Psalms were the most frequently referenced Old Testament passages in 2021. Of Scripture in the New Testament, Matthew was referenced most in sermons, while Philemon, 2 John and 3 John appeared in sermons the fewest times.
Of the 31,102 verses in the Bible, 29,321 verses (94%) were referred to in at least one sermon in 2021, according to the Faithlife analysis.
Download the full report here.