Sometimes preachers give away their entire main idea in the title they advertise ahead of time. I think I’ve done that with this title. It’s one of the things that always makes a message feel either like biblical preaching, or not truly biblical preaching. Does the preacher preach the text? Or does the preacher preach from a text, using a text, referring to a text?
1. The difference demonstrates the preacher’s view of the Bible. For some, the Bible is a great data bank to be raided for foundational wording on which they can build their presentation. For others, the Bible is a continual source of delight as they come fresh to texts each time they preach them and encounter God in His Word, before bringing the ancient word ever fresh and new to the listeners. Is your Bible old and static, or dynamic and relationally connecting?
2. The difference demonstrates the preacher’s view of preaching. For some, preaching is primarily about their own craft in preparing a message where the text is an ingredient, a factor. For others, the Bible is the master lens through which God is seen by the needy listeners as His Word is effectively presented in the preaching moment.
3. The difference demonstrates the preacher’s view of the listeners’ need. For some, the listeners come together for a church service in which they need to have the sermon slot filled with good sermonic art and craft, a bit of polished poetry, a touch of humor, a hint of depth and a good measure of preacher’s personality. For others, the listeners have a profound need, whether they are unsaved or saved, of an encounter with the God who reveals Himself fully and freely in His Word.
4. The difference demonstrates the preacher’s view of themselves. For some, preaching is an opportunity to demonstrate their own faithfulness to the gospel, or cleverness with words, or artistry with concepts, or craft with alliteration, or ingenuity with a book of sermon illustrations. For others, preaching is about communicating God’s Word to the people God brings together, in the power of God’s Spirit, and the focus, strangely enough, is on God, not the preacher.