‘Expository Preaching,’ writes Peter Adam, ‘is the preaching of the message of a book of the Bible, usually verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, by explanation and application of it to the congregation.’
Here are fifteen argument in favour of expository preaching:-
It explains and applies the Bible as it was actually written – not as a collection of quotations, useful texts, inspiring ideas or isolated stories, but as a sequence of sentences, paragraphs, and book.
Iain H. Murray, associated for so many years with the Banner of Truth Trust, has a very wide knowledge of reformed theology and biography. His cautions about some aspects or perceptions of expository preaching are well worth noting.
If, says Murray, expository preaching is defined as preaching which seeks to explain and apply the text of Scripture, then there is no argument. But expository preaching has come to mean, for many, consecutive preaching through a passage, or book, of the Bible. …
‘There is no one way to prepare sermons’, writes John Stott in I believe in preaching. ‘Every preacher has to work out his own method, which suits his temperament and situation.’ Nevetheless, there are skills that can be learned and habits that can be acquired. The following outline of the relevant chapter (6) in Stott’s book is taken largely from Xenos.
Choose Your Text
Of course, there must be a text, ‘for we are not speculators, but expositors’. …
Expository preaching must remain faithful to the text of Scripture. There are two ways, says John Stott, in which the expositor might depart from his text: forgetfulness and disloyalty.
G. Campbell Morgan, himself a fine expositor, noted of Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College Oxford that he
declared that it was his habit to write his sermons, and then choose a text as a peg on which to hang them. I am quite free to say…that the study of his sermons will reveal the accuracy of his statement, and show the peril of the method.…
Peter Adam is Principal of Ridley Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. In a recent lecture on John Calvin as a preacher, he sets out nine demanding engagements that Calvin sought to fulfil in his own preaching.
1. Engaging with God. The preacher doesn’t just talk about God in some remote and objective way. No: the preacher expects God to be present with and in his Word by his Spirit.
J.I. Packer, who has done so much to revive interest in the Puritans, identifies the following characteristics of Puritan preaching:-
1. It was expository in its method. The preacher’s task was to extract meaning from the text, rather than to impose meaning on it. The preacher seeks the mind of God as revealed in Scripture, and then seeks to express it faithfully. In ‘opening’ a text, the Puritan preacher would explain it in context, extract from it one or more doctrinal observations, and then amplify, illustrate and confirm from other scriptures the truths thus derived.…