As you read through the New Testament, you see that it is a masterpiece of good communication. Here we see specific issues, needs, personalities, and errors, all addressed with great clarity. The Gospel of Luke is carefully structured, balancing off events in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ so as to present balanced teaching.
The opening chapters of Romans go through all the divisions of mankind, leading to the startling declaration of Romans 3:23. Demas and Alexander are called out by name for their sins, while even Peter was corrected when he fell into Judaism. The epistles are written to specific audiences, and often for precise purposes.
Poor teaching is abundant
Unfortunately, many of today’s sermons cannot be considered masterpieces of good communication. Sometimes we preach without energy, and use a monotone. Sometimes we miss the point of the passage, and ramble from topic to topic.
Sometimes we present the results of a Bible study, without doing the hard work of turning it into a sermon. And sometimes we just approach a passage trying to find something to say, rather than asking ourselves what the text is really driving at. We stand and talk without saying anything wrong, but we fail to exercise the gift of teaching.
Developing the gift of teaching
Spiritual gifts can be developed (Acts 18:26). Just as we can use texts on theology to explore the Bible in greater depth, we can use texts on homiletics to hone a teaching gift and a pulpit ministry. The time spent to read three or four good texts will repay a hundred-fold.
When you listen to some of the best teachers, take time to understand what makes their teaching so effective. Ask older believers, men and women, to critique your sermons and provide private feedback. And if you have the opportunity to take a course in homiletics, go for it!
Only use it if you have it
Now let’s be clear. Teaching is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:7). All the study in the world will not impart a gift that a believer doesn’t have. Nor should believers seek a gift of teaching because of the consequences associated with it (James 3:1). But if you have a gift of teaching, actively seek to develop it.
Studying the Bible is hard work. And taking your study and carefully crafting it into a sermon is also hard work. But just as the study is rewarding to you as an individual, a well-exercised teaching gift delivering a well-communicated sermon will reward the whole assembly.
Make the effort to teach to reach.