I am a rookie preacher and for me sermon preparation has only been experienced through small group encounters where I chose a topic and jotted some notes on the fly. In maturity however (if I dare say I am maturing) I am finding that scripture does all the work for me! I have studied two texts recently in sermon prep and found a truth I hope I cling onto – the scripture speaks for itself.
Senario 1 – I read every commentary I could get my hands on before forming thoughts on a sermon or even my outline. I found so many nuggets of truth that I deliberated for some time on how to form a message from all this knowledge. I did it, but it took much longer than a pastor preacher twice a week has time for!
Senario 2 – In prayer, I read my text and let the verses form their own flow and outline. With the outline written down, all commentary research or wisdom of others is used only to put meat on the bones of the sermon rather than build it. This took a few hours to accomplish rather than weeks. This is where we let the scripture speak for itself.
This is what I am finding as I experiment with sermon prep and while it might be a unique case for epistles I think it will reign true in all of scripture.