When I as a preacher stand before the congregation to which God has called me, I bring one book that alone is God's revealed words - the Bible. The sermons proclaimed from any pulpit are only effective insofar as they are grounded in and leading out the meaning of those words. The above opening texts are gold standards when it comes to expressing three core truths of communicating the Christian faith: the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible and the priority of preaching. Today I want to draw some connections between a consistent affirmation of the inerrancy of scripture and its practical application in Biblical preaching to the 21st century church. In other words, we aim to simply ask the question: why is Biblical inerrancy the basis for effective preaching?
The cost of effective preaching demands inerrant scripture. 2 Timothy 3:10-14
Our core text above is part of a series of statements that Paul begins back in 2 Timothy 3:10. In what appears to be a repeated admonition to his younger protege who is assuming leadership at the church at Ephesus, he states in 2 Timothy 3:10-11 "Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!" Why would a preacher purposefully choose to undergo the hardship that comes with preaching lest he believed that the very text he preaches is nothing short of being the very words of God? Paul's forecast of Timothy's future preaching assignment is as bleak as it is blunt!
Preachers who are consistently effective at their rpeaching are those who hold to the original 419,687 words of the originally revealed Old Testament and the 138,162 words of the originally revealed New Testament as being inspired and without error. This entails adhering to the general overall wording, authority, doctrines and details being preserved to the point of declaring today's Bibles as being practically and actually the same authoritative inerrant Word of God. Such a committment is necessary in order to pay the price for such preaching. Why endure the high cost of preaching? Preaching that results in no cost for the preacher may very well be evidence of a man who does not consistently hold to a high view of scripture.
Richard Baxter, the great Puritan minister of the 17th century preacher states: "All churches either rise or fall as the ministry doth rise or fall, not in riches and worldly grandeur, but in knowledge, zeal and ability for their work." The Bible is not another church book, as coined by one recent theologian; rather the Bible alone is God's book, holding authority and sway over the church. Lest the Bible that I as a preacher is the inerrant and inspired Word of God, the cost of effective preaching will never be justified. The cost is dear and the cost is willingly paid by all true God-called men who know, teach and believe to the core of their being that the Bible is what it really is - the Word of God.