How can a pastor make unwise use of commentaries and other helps in sermon preparation?
A pastor can make unwise use of commentaries and other resources in sermon preparation if he allows them—rather than the text itself—to set his sermon’s agenda.
Some preachers who perhaps rely too heavily on commentaries fill their sermons with endless historical background. Some spend the better part of a sermon discussing conflicting interpretations of the passage. Some dredge up and flog old heresies that people are not facing today. All of these are harmful examples of what happens when commentaries, rather than the text itself, sets a preacher’s agenda.
In addition, a pastor who relies too heavily on commentaries runs the risk of getting only a secondhand knowledge of Scripture. This will deprive a pastor from the kind of intense, in-depth exposure to the Word he needs in order to be shaped by it himself, and both he and his people will suffer as a result.