It is easy to focus in on little details, but this series is about the big things that we need to be clear on for healthy biblical preaching. Often we won’t see these mistakes in ourselves, but let’s pray for God to show where some of them might be true of us:
Mistake 2 – Not Preaching the Passage
There are many directions we can head after we finish reading a text (whenever that occurs in the message). Here are some options that fail to preach the passage, and then I’ll share some reasons why this happens:
A. We can head off into our own ideas – whether they are self-help tips for living, self-absorbed personal anecdote sharing, personal soapboxes or targeted rants . . . the passage is not doing the work here.
B. We can head off on a biblical safari – it is easy to fill time with multiplied cross-references. It is also easy to get positive feedback, but this may be for superficially impressing people rather than for saying anything meaningful.
C .We can head to the passage we wish we were preaching – maybe everything is Romans 3 for you, or perhaps Philippians 4, or whatever. But what about this preaching passage, when will this get any coverage again?
D. We can linger in, but not preach the passage – dwelling on minor details or offering pleasant platitudes, even if we stay superficially in the passage, but don’t really preach it, then we are still digressing.
E. We can dive into our theological prof persona – do you wish you were teaching theology in a classroom? Don’t work out that issue in the pulpit.
F. We can head for the newspapers – in our quest for relevance or to be a political voice, we can abdicate our role as preachers of the Bible. By all means be relevant, but not at the expense of the text.
Why does this happen? Some people know no better. Some preachers were trained poorly. Some churches push the preacher toward an unhealthy approach to the text. But ultimately, the biggest reason that we have to face is this: not preaching the text is an evaluation of God’s ability as a communicator.
If God inspired the text, and if he did a good job, do we think that we can improve on that communication by our alternative methods of preaching? Give everything you can to actually understanding and presenting the text so that its message is communicated, its revelation of the character of God is revealed and so that your listeners are able to experience exposure to this unique and wonderful passage!