This seems so obvious, but I wonder if some preachers are self-deceived. We need to preach the message of the text we are preaching. This is not the same as preaching a message that only has points of connection with the text we claim to be preaching. That is, reading a text and preaching a message that isn’t really the message of that text, simply isn’t acceptable. But it is common.
As people look at the passage in the Bibles sitting on their laps, can they see how your message comes specifically from that text?
If people cannot see how we get our message from the text we are preaching, one of three things can happen.
Possibility number one is that they will be impressed and so want more of us, rather than more of the Bible. They might be impressed because we can find things they would never have seen. They might think we have special knowledge, or a direct hotline to God for new revelation. They might even think we have a grasp of the Greek that far exceeds that of the entire translation committee for their Bible version!
Possibility number two is that they will feel intimidated and so not pursue Bible study for themselves, since they have no expectation of being able to get something so good out of the passage. Might as well wait until next week. Why bother trying in the meantime when all it takes is a bit of patience?
Possibility number three is that they will subconsciously lose trust in the Bible and begin to trust in the system we force on the text. After all, the person they are looking to for spiritual leadership shows no real confidence in the Bible. If he uses it as nothing more than a tool for preaching, then why should they submit to it in their lives?
If they can’t see how we get our message from the text, one of three things can happen, and all of them are bad.