I grew up hearing sermons filled with Scripture, the preachers giving book, chapter, and verse. I was taught to be a preacher by preachers who believed the only basis for preaching was book, chapter, and verse.
Preaching is simply the proclamation of a message. Gospel preachers have been given a message. It is not our message; it is God’s. For some reason, in His infinite wisdom, he chose preaching as the means of extending His salvation to the world, “…it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1.21).
We preachers have had no part in the preparing, providing, and revealing of the message. That was all God’s work. Preachers are merely messengers, relaying faithfully and accurately the words of One to others. They are not our words – they are His words.
Therefore, to assure the faithfulness of the message, the messenger must provide book, chapter, and verse. And likewise, that they might accurately receive the message, the hearers must always expect the messenger to give book, chapter, and verse.
My dear friends, let us constantly remember “we walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5.7) and that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10.17). That requires book, chapter, and verse.