There is a difference between preaching from the Bible and preaching that allows the Bible to drive the substance, structure, and spirit of the sermon. A text-driven sermon allows the structure of the text to become buoyant, to come to the surface so that the sermon can be built around that structure. In this way the word of God (the meaning of the text) is presented in a way that is influenced by the voice of God (the genre of the text).
In Recapturing the Voice of God, veteran preacher Steven W. Smith teaches how to preach genre-sensitive, text-driven sermons—to allow the structure of the text to be the structure of the sermon. To do so, one must understand the genre of the literature in which God has chosen to reveal Himself. After a brief defense of genre-sensitive preaching, Smith categorizes Scripture genres according to their structure: story, poem, or letter. From these macro-level genres, each individual genre is explored for its unique features (law, prophecy, epistles, etc.). Smith then offers practical help in structuring a text-driven sermon and includes sample sermons as illustrations.
“Steven Smith carefully leads preachers through the territory of preaching various biblical genres. He helps preachers appreciate the contours of these landscapes so that they can develop sermons that respect the shape of the genre itself. This text-driven homiletic is explored in these helpful pages—and preachers will benefit from reading each chapter and applying Smith's words to their preaching.”—Scott M. Gibson, professor of Preaching and Ministry, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary