Some extracts from Chapter 1 of Expository Preaching: Principles and Practice, by Haddon Robinson (1st ed., 1980). (The headings are my own)
Is preaching past its sell-by date?
‘The word is out in some circles that preaching should be abandoned. The moving finger has passed it by and now points to other methods and ministries that are more “effective” and in tune with the times.’
Preaching takes place in a context of communication over-load
‘Preaching takes place in an overcommunicated society.…
Stephen D. Mathewson, (The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, p25f) writes:
Some evangelicals preach through an Old Testament narrative text by using the “captioned survey” form. Basically, this sermon develops through the points of an analytical outline. Usually, the preacher will state these points clearly so the listeners leave the sermon with an outline in their minds or at least on paper. For example, the sermon I preached several years ago on 1 Samuel 7 chewed its way through the following outline:
‘There is no form inherent in expository preaching. Richard Mayhue is on target when he writes, “Exposition is not so much defined by the form of the message as it is by the source and process through which the message was formed. To put it another way, there is no such thing as an expository sermon form. Ideally, the form should come from the text.
Walter L. Liefeld suggests that an expository message:
deals with one basic passage of Scripture. One passage of Scripture (or a very few, I would suggest) is accorded central place in the sermon. The sermon is not a ‘string of pearls’, consisting of a diverse texts.
has hermeutical integrity. It presents the gist of the chosen passage, consistent with its original meaning and emphases. The sermon must be true to the genre, original purpose, flow of narrative or argument, intended meaning and application of the text.
John Albert Broadus (1827-1895) was both a celebrated preacher and a teacher of preaching. His Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons was for decades the most widely-used and influential manual on preaching.
Hershael York claims:
‘Nearly everything written on expository preaching is derivative of Broadus’s Treatise to some extent, often massively so.’
Broadus espoused, in the face of incipient modernism and liberalism, theological orthodoxy allied to a firm belief in the infallibility of the Bible.…
Every sermon should have a text. That is to say, it should be an explication and application of some portion of Holy Scripture.
A distinction is often made been ‘textual preaching’ and ‘expository preaching’. The supposition is that there is a fundamental difference between preaching from a short section of the Bible (a single verse, say) and preaching from a longer portion (such as a paragraph). But there is (or should not be) any fundamental difference. …
C.H. Spurgeon is known as ‘the Prince of Preachers’. It is worthwhile, then, enquiring about his attitude towards, and practice of, expository preaching.
Peter Masters considers this in an article entitled ‘Expository Preaching – Benefits and Pitfalls.’
Masters begins defines expository preaching as ‘preaching that draws the message from the biblical text, clearly and methodically, honouring the sense of the text, and the style of communication employed.’
He outlines some of the benefits of expository preaching:
It demonstrates that the Bible is the supreme authority for all that is taught.
In expository preaching the preacher’s first aim is to discover the text writer’s intended theological meaning in the selected text. We preachers tend to search the Bible for a sermon. We hope for something to leap out at us that will preach. But a program of expository preaching calls for the preacher to aim for a clear understanding of the text writer’s meaning. Only out of that theological message can he properly preach an expository sermon.
Erik Raymond has helpfully collected a range of contemporary definitions:
John MacArthur: ‘The message finds its sole source in Scripture. The message is extracted from Scripture through careful exegesis. The message preparation correctly interprets Scripture in its normal sense and its context. The message clearly explains the original God-intended meaning of Scripture. The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today.’ (Preaching)
Bryan Chappell: ‘The main idea of an expository sermon the topic, the divisions of that idea, main points, and the development of those divisions, all come from truths the text itself contains.…