I just came across some notes I made a while ago. It’s a three part description of preaching that I hear. This is simplified, but perhaps helpful as a stimulus to move from approach 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3.
Approach 1 – Springboard Preaching (Inadequate approach to preaching)
This is where the preacher touches down in a passage just long enough to bounce out of it and into their own thoughts. A word or phrase may be taken on the journey through the message, but it has long since been ripped out of its passage context.
Approach 2 – Highlight Bounce Preaching (Adequate, but “amateur” approach to preaching)
This is where the preacher is a little more aware of the context of the passage and moves through the passage noting highlights along the way. Typically these highlights will reflect the best bits of Bible study done in preparation (often the best study moves out of the passage, so the message also can jump to other passages, but I did not want to complicate the diagram!) This is better than Springboard Preaching, but let me show you a better way!
Approach 3 – “Plumbed” Passage Preaching (Preferable approach to preaching)
This is where the preacher has studied the passage in its context and is able to present the message of the passage to some depth. This is not a series of mini-messages on various passage details, but it allows the details to work together to shape a single message that truly represents the passage in question. The depth may vary according to time, skill of the exegete, etc. But this approach to preaching will result in a coherent message, satisfying presentation of the passage and more accurate understanding of the meaning of the passage. (Please note that it is never possible to fully “plumb” the depths of the passage, so the term is used relatively!)
For simplicity, I have presumed that each message is based in one text and that each message is making connection to the listeners by way of application. I have assumed that there is a sense of progress in each message. (None of these can be assumed in real life preaching!) The simple focus here is on how the passage is handled. Let’s strive to be Approach 3 preachers whenever possible.