While reading Spirit-Led Preaching by Greg Heisler yesterday, a specific section of his book from chapter two on “What is Spirit-Led Preaching?” really impressed me, so I thought I would share it with you this morning. As we consider the importance of preaching in our day, it is important to note that when preaching fails – so does the entire mission of the church. So, it would be fair to say that we must get this area right in the life of the church. With that simple understanding as the foundation, why is expository preaching so important? Why not just preach any way you desire? Why not preach topically? Why not preach thematically? Why not just provide doctrinal speeches in the church? Why is expository preaching the best method for rightly dividing the Word of Truth? Heisler cites Kent Hughes from his article found in The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology from 1999 titled, “The Anatomy of Exposition: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.” Hughes provides the following five benefits of expository preaching:
1. When you preach expositionally, you will preach texts that you would never voluntarily preach and would, perhaps, even purposely avoid.
2. When you preach expositionally, you never have to worry about what you are going to preach on Sunday.
3. When you preach expositionally, you will grow as a theologian because of systematic biblical exposition.
4. When you preach expositionally, you are always subject to the text. Exposition forces you to look to the Scripture for both your theme and structure.
5. When you preach expositionally, your authority is inherently derived from the text itself, not manufactured by the preacher.
Heisler then adds an additional point to Hughes’ list. His additional point is:
6. Expository preaching serves as the harness that holds the powerful combination of Word and Spirit together.
As we consider these statements regarding expository preaching, it should be pointed out that they are not flawless nor are they intended to be an exhaustive listing of benefits to expository preaching. However, just as an overview, they serve as a good summary of what expository preaching does in the life of a church and the ministry of a preacher.
Preachers who preach topically easily avoid tough passages of Scripture that deal with tough theological issues. As a result, the church as a whole is left wondering about these issues as they face them in their own personal study of Holy Scripture. By preaching expositionally, the preacher can simply allow the text to do the speaking. After all, the text is inspired by God and should never be muzzled! The preacher has no right or authority to muzzle God’s Word, call it heresy in parts, remove verses to smooth out their theological positions, or skip books and chapters because they are too hard to explain while remaining committed to a specific theological camp.
Expository preaching tears down these false idols, smashes these faulty foundations, and lifts out of the pages of Holy Writ the true gem of the author’s intent and meaning to the eyes of the people. That is why I personally love expository preaching!It is my prayer that God will continue to raise up another generation of faithful Bible expositors who are committed to the Word rather than a movement or group of people.
May this happen for the glory of God,
Pastor Josh Buice