One of the things that tends to surprise me when I look at so many "churchy" things - be they sermons or studies or what have you is how... lacking they are in the Word.
Yes, yes, yes - I know, I'm not citing Scripture here; behold the irony! Physician, heal thyself! (I see what I did there... wait...) But I'm thinking more about preaching, or classes or books. And one of the things I have noticed is that often they seem not to *begin* with the Word and flow from there... it's almost as though there is a point that is driven at, and then (maybe) there might be some cherry picked verses to sort of support the point you want to make (regardless of whether or not they are in context).
One of the things that I picked up, and I can't even remember where I picked it up from, was the idea that you should include the scripture texts that you quote in your sermon in a different text - I like to bold and italicize - that way by simply glancing at the text you can see how often you are bringing in the Scriptures. And how it works. Are the Scriptures the source from which your ideas flow, or are they just bits of evidence for your particular whim. Are you teaching a text and seeing its ramifications, or are you just having people willy nilly look up bible verses to give them something to do in class in the midst of your pontifications?
We are to be in the Word.
The Word of God itself should shape our preaching and teaching. It's own flows - it's own rhetoric - it's own movement.
When dealing with the liberals and the higher critics, we complained that they placed themselves above the Word of God with their criticism. Do we fall into the same trap by our cherry picking and shoe-horning the Scriptures to deal with our pet issues of the day?
Maybe it would be good to just place ourselves under the Word, be in the Word - and let the Word of God give commentary about us and who we are.