I forget who said it first, but none the less it remains true:
A call to preach is a call to study
The life of a pastor and teacher of God’s Word is a life dedicated to the study of that Word. If you feel called to preach God’s Word but have no desire to study theology, hermeneutics, and homiletics than you might want to seriously pray about whether God is asking you to preach His Word. Now by study I do not mean that you have to necessarily go to seminary, although for most it is a good idea. However, it does mean that you must be diligent in your study and understanding of God’s Word.
As preachers, our message is tied to God’s revealed Words in the Bible. As a result, if we are going to preach the Bible faithfully we must study it diligently. This means picking up a working knowledge of Greek and Hebrew to carefully examine the Bible. This means a consistent and daily habit of reading great Bible teachers and respected pastors from Church History to help you understand the Word better. This means listening to sermons from great preachers to learn the Word and sharpen your homiletical skills.
I’m not talking about just sermon preparation in which you spend hours and hours exegeting the text, creating an outline, and doing the messy work of illustration and application. The life of a Pastor/Preacher is a habitual pursuit of deepening our own minds so we can clearly and more aptly communicate the truth of God. In my own, short experience, I am amazed how often as I’m working on preparing to teach on a text of Scripture, God reminds me of a cross reference or a section of a book I read. My study over the years has created a mental card catalogue of resources that God has used to instruct me. The Holy Spirit simply just pulls out the cards as I’m prayerfully studying for a sermon. In fact, I’m learning more and more that the purpose of my formal education is not necessarily to give me all the answers, but to teach me where to find them. Through a lifestyle of habitual study over time God sharpens our minds and equips us for the task of preaching.
As preachers we have a HUGE responsibility of boldly proclaiming God’s Word to our people. This task of preaching is not for intellectual bums and theological charlatans. Lazy thinkers make terrible preachers. The responsibility of preaching is a laborious work and requires painful study. If we want to be faithful to the task God has called us, may we seek to proclaim his Word with excellence.
Study the Word. Preach the Word.