While attending my doctoral seminar this week, Dr. Cook has provided some helpful notes on the topic of expository preaching. Often people have a misguided view of expository preaching in their minds, but when the topic is considered fully – it seems that the method of expository preaching accomplishes two important things, (1) fully feeding the people from God’s Word and (2) forcing the preacher to proclaim the whole counsel of God’s Word rather than his “favorite” passages.
On the subject of expository preaching (verse by verse studies through the Bible) – should Sunday School teachers be teaching in this manner in the Sunday School classes? Would our churches become more healthy if we equipped our teachers to teach in the same way that Bible preachers proclaim the Word on a given Sunday? The answer to that question is obvious – YES! At times topical studies may be helpful to cover a specific topic or doctrine, but as a whole – our church should be centered on clear Bible teaching.
Read and consider the following information on expository preaching and provide any helpful comments or ideas that may be on your heart related to the subject.
Basic Characteristics of Expository Preaching
1. An expository sermon should normally focus on one basic passage.
2. An expository sermon is faithful to the text. It has hermeneutical integrity. Our goal should be to reproduce the significant elements of the passage with the same intentions as the original author. The main point of the sermon is the main point of the text.
3. An expository sermon serves the text it does not use it. The passage is the Word of God and must treated like the whole of God’s Word.
- You must consider literary genre as you interpret the text. Narrative literature for instance forces us to preach larger chunks.
- The intent of the original author must be considered.
- The legitimate application must be considered carefully.
4. An expository sermon has unity.
5. An expository sermon should have movement and direction. It should move the hearer in the direction the original author intended it to go. We should not leave the sermon asking, “What is the point?” or “What is the main idea?”
6. An expository sermon must apply the text to the congregation. It is imperative that the message should have application for a contemporary audience.
Advantages of Expository Preaching
1. When we preach expository sermons, we can be confident that we are preaching God’s will when we preach God’s Word.
2. We are confined to the biblical text and subjectivism is minimized.
3. When we preach through the Scriptures, we are proclaiming the whole counsel of God rather than riding our hobby horses.
4. When we preach expositional sermons we discover that the context and content of the passage usually include its own application.
5. The words of the sermon should provide the structure of the outline.
6. When we preach expository sermons through books we can address touchy issues without being viewed as taking advantage of the pulpit.
7. When preaching expository sermons it provides the preacher an opportunity to demonstrate how to read the Bible and teach the Bible to his congregation.
The preacher and teacher who open up God’s Word should tremble at the responsibility of accurately dividing the Word of the Lord. All preachers and teachers will stand before God and give account of how faithful they have been in that task. Therefore, no haphazard attempt will suffice in sermon or lesson preparation. All of those who stand with God’s Word should speak it accurately – not seeking to appease a group or individual. It is God’s Word – not the Word of man! Therefore, it seems clear that this task is best carried out through expositional preaching and teaching.
For the glory of God!