This week at Cor Deo my colleague Ron mentioned something he does in preparing for sermons. Simple suggestion to say the least, but so helpful. Instead of cutting and pasting the text of the passage into a document to work with, he photocopies his own Bible page.
Then he can work on the photocopy at a significant level of inductive observational detail. Then when he comes to preach from his own Bible, he’s very familiar with the layout of the text and only needs to make minimal markings on the text since he’s just been working all week on a replica of the same.
I could leave it there, but let me add a couple of comments:
1. Too many spend too little time really soaking in the text. It shows in the preaching. The message is often a decent message, but the tie to the text is tenuous. If you have a great Christian gospel message that really is the message of another text, preach the other text! But if you’re preaching this text, then live in it and let it live in you for a while so that you are really preaching the text you say you are preaching!
2. The more our message is tied to the text we’re preaching, the less we are reliant on extraneous notes and imposed sermonic structures. This means the listeners perceive a more natural presentation (that’s helpful), and they are more likely to follow in their Bibles (that’s helpful), so that the focus is less on your sermonic artistry and more on the inspired revelation that came from God (that’s helpful too!)