I have not commented on this much before because there is a lot of debate over it, and much controversy. Yet, the more things get muddled and said about preaching and the more preaching I hear the more I realize there is a need to be clear on this. My grandfather (Elder James Hobbs Sr) used to say, “Two kinds of preaching make me want to preach – good preaching and bad preaching….Now, I sure want to preach!” Grandpa was right, there’s plenty of preaching going on, and sadly a lot of it is bad. Now is not the time to halt between opinions. These are perilous times. We need to be preaching the Word. Isn’t that the Biblical mandate as given?
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,
exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
(2 Timothy 4:2)
Since we are told to “preach the Word,” I am convinced the absolute best way to do that consistently is through expository preaching. The question is what is that?
Steve Lawson wrote, “Expository preaching is preaching rooted and grounded in the Word of God. It starts with a text of Scripture, not with a felt need or a personal experience or something going on in the world. It starts with the Bible. Therefore it starts with God.”
J.I. Packer wrote, “Expository preaching is letting the text talk.”
That ought to be the desire of every pastor, preacher, missionary, Sunday school teacher, or any man who gets into the pulpit. Biblical preaching is taking the Word of God, explaining it as to its original meaning and proper context, and taking that same text and making some application to it for the modern hearer. All this with an appeal or invitation to act upon the truth which has been presented.
We find this modeled in the Scriptures:
First, notice the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
That’s what expository preaching is…an opening of the Scriptures.
Also by Paul:
“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging;
to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus,
both out of the law of Moses and the prophets, from morning till evening.”
Paul expounded the Scriptures. He lay it open. He was a great expositor.
Now, when a lot of people hear or read of expository preaching, they automatically think of verse-by-verse preaching. And, that is one way to preach, but that is not all. The truth is, there are many ways of expository preaching. Notice all the ways there is to be an expositor:
–Sequential Exposition – Verse by verse through books of the Bible. That happens a lot here. I’m currently going through the Gospel of Mark on Sunday mornings and Acts on Wednesday evenings.
–Sectional Exposition – Preaching through a section of Scripture. Examples might be preaching the Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount, The Parables, etc.
–Topical Exposition – Taking a subject and expounding on it. Examples of this would be the attributes of God, the Doctrines of Grace, the Tabernacle, the Church, etc. (A disclaimer here…It must be understood, not all topical preaching is expository preaching but it should be. The preacher should be taking a text and preaching a topic from that text…we should never be using a text simply as a springboard into what we want to say…)
–Biographical Exposition – This would be character studies. David, Samson, Paul, Peter, etc. These types of sermons can be very beneficial, when we stick with the text.
–Specific Verse Exposition – This would be taking a specific verse and expounding on it. I recently preached from Acts 17:11 at the Landmark Baptist Church Bible Conference. That was a good example.
Hopefully this clarifies some things and is maybe some help to the preacher, or even the Sunday school teacher. For more information I recommend some YouTube Videos and books below:
Here’s also a link to the sermons preached at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church where I am pastor:
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church SermonAudio Page