How can a minister read two separate passages of scripture that have absolutely nothing to do with each other and then force a link on them which just isn’t there? For example, in a recent sermon, the minister was preaching from Genesis 37, the story of Joseph’s dreams where his family bow down to him, followed by his brothers selling him to travellers and telling his father that he is dead. The linked passage was Jesus preaching in a synagogue in his home town and nobody taking him seriously, whereby he concludes ‘A prophet is without honour in his home town’ Mark 6:1-6.
The most tenuous link was made to the fact that Joseph was (allegedly) a prophet in this instance, due to the dreams he had and that because he said them to his family, i.e. his home town, so therefore he was not taken seriously. And this fits with what Jesus said in the passage from Mark. The link just does not exist. It’s cringe worthy.
This practice ultimately revolves around how the minister understands the Bible. It seems that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of lessons rather than a complete story, so if two passages appear the same, however tentative the link might be, it’s worth highlighting that link, perhaps to make the minister look like he has some deeper insight.
Invariably some ministers are so confused about what the Bible actually is, they cannot preach from a passage in isolation because they have no clue about its historical context or the part it plays in the wider story. They need to forge a link with another (often times, arbitrary passage) just to find some meaning in the text itself.
If you are one of those ministers, GIVE UP. It’s better for you not to teach than to teach badly and confuse the congregation. They will think it is alright to see whatever links they can conjure up in a text if the minister is doing it.
If you insist on teaching, here’s a tip: Explain the passage in its historical context and explain what role it plays in the wider story of the bible. That should give you more than enough material to fill 30 minutes without the need to even look at other, none related passages.