There is, as Bryan Chapell points out, no shortage of scriptural teaching on the necessity of the minister of the word to be a man of good character (2 Cor 6:3-4; 1 Thess 2:3-8, 11-12; 2 Tim 2:15-16, 22-24; Titus 2:7-8; James 1:26-27; 3:13).
Those who preach Scripture should take care that their lives are under the rule of Scripture. John Wesley once explained to a young preacher why his ministry was ineffective: “Your temper is uneven; you lack love for your neighbors. You grow angry too easily; your tongue is too sharp—thus, the people will not hear you.”
However we might wish it other wise, the preacher’s character cannot be separated from his message. Haddon Robinson puts it well:-
Who has not heard some devout brother or sister pray in anticipation of a sermon, “Hide our pastor behind the cross so that we may see not him but Jesus only.” We commend the spirit of such a prayer.… Yet no place exists where a preacher may hide. Even a large pulpit cannot conceal us from view.… We affect our message. We may be mouthing a scriptural idea yet we can remain as impersonal as a telephone recording, as superficial as a radio commercial, or as manipulative as a con man. The audience does not hear a sermon, they hear a person—they hear you.
Christ-centred preaching: redeeming the expository sermon