After covering the necessary qualities of God’s messengers, John Broadus, turns to the content of God’s message. He claims,
The message which the Christian preacher proclaims is a given message. He does not have to create it. It has been revealed. Every basic idea which the Christian preacher needs has been given to him. To be sure, he must interpret, apply and illustrate, but he does not have to invent. Indeed, he must not invent. In the Scripture he has his core message. In a real sense, preaching is giving the Bible a voice.
Broadus gives 9 reasons that the Christian preacher should use the Bible as his “source material.”
- Using the Bible separates the homily from public speaking. “Preaching is not just a public speech; it is not a person making a talk; it is a person sharing a message from God.”
- Using the Bible gives the preacher relevant material. Broadus claimed that a preacher who relies on his own good ideas for sermon material will soon run out of good ideas. He quotes Dr. Halford Luccock to provide a helpful illustration.
In those days quite a number of young Apolloses, on graduating, having become men, put aways such childish things as texts and Bible stories. In the pulpit they lived amid the immensities and starry galaxies. But after a while, when the little long-suffering congregation had heard their sermon on “The March of Progress” (for progress was marching in those days) and the one on “Science and Religion” and the one on “Pragmatism” (for pragmatism was going big then), like the prodigal son, they began to be in want. Then they came to themselves and said, “In my father’s Book are texts enough and to spare.” And they said, “I will arise and go to the Bible.”
- Using the Bible saves the preacher time in sermon preparation. “He does not waste time looking for subjects or scanning sermon books. . . . It is amazing how much time is saved because a preacher can go to work on a text Monday morning.”
- Using the Bible causes the preacher to grow in grace and knowledge. “As a person delves deeply into Scripture to give others spiritual food, he feeds his own soul.”
- Using the Bible adds variety to preaching. “The Bible discusses a myriad of theological and ethical ideas. . . . Contrary to the idea that the use of Scripture limits one’s preaching, just the opposite is true. It enlarges the scope of any pastor’s teaching.”
- Using the Bible allows the preacher to handle difficult topics in a tactful way. “Little good is to be done if dealing with hard issues should degenerate into a contest of minds between the minister and his people. If, however, in the natural course of unfolding the meaning of various passages of Scriptures from the pulpit these unpleasant questions inevitably open up simply because the Bible has something to say about them, then the offense becomes the offense of the Bible and not that of the minister.”
- Using the Bible helps the congregation remember the sermon. “When a preacher uses the Bible, the people have an association which helps them to remember the sermon.” (I would add to this that, hopefully, the sermon based on the Bible’s message will also help the congregation remember the Bible.)
- Using the Bible provides the preacher with a note of authority. “The preacher is not sharing his own ideas. He is declaring God’s message. He is herald. He has been sent by the king. He has the authority of ‘thus saith the Lord.'”
- Using the Bible pleases the Lord. “It has been suggested that [a sermon] should be offered to [God] before it is shared with the people. It seems that the biblical offering would be the most acceptable. For the preacher to stand in God’s stead and speak for him is most pleasing to God.”