I'm just involved at the moment in a preaching series on Romans at church. This Sunday I've got Romans 2.17-29 as a passage. It's not been easy preparing. Understanding the passage, this time around, was a fairly straightforward part of preparation. Getting to a message was much, much harder. That's partly because of the nature of Paul's argument - and partly because our church isn't filled with Jewish people. That's where the prayerful skill of the preacher comes in -turning this passage into a Christian message. Preaching is not simply explaining the passage and then (at best) giving one or two application pointers. I am proclaiming Christ to unbelievers and believers alike in a way that is faithful to the passage and runs with the thrust and direction of the text.
That is where our Teaching series come in. There are plenty of commentaries I could be reading on Romans. And have. There are plenty of books of sermons I could be reading. And haven't (I find reading other people's sermons not very helpful for preparation). But our teaching series takes the Bible preacher or teacher between the two. And that's what I do need. Christopher's volumes on Romans are immensely helpful.