How crucial is expository preaching to you?

Most of us would say that a lot of what is called expository preaching isn't. Spurgeon is a good case in point.  He may deal with a text, but not a portion.  Others use the text as an excuse to preach on a topic.

So what do we mean by expository preaching?  The point of the sermon is the point of the text, usually involving 3 verses to a chapter.  The text is outlined in some fashion, its meaning and intent explained, and then applied.  That definition, while unpolished, should do for our poll.

This stands in contrast to topical preaching, evangelistic preaching, and textual preaching (usually a verse or two).  All these forms of preaching overlap, and some sermons are more expository than others. This is not a perfect science.  

Also, most pastors preach a variety of styles of sermon, but major in one that they preach most of the time. We are talking most (at least 51%) of the time.

How important is this to you?  Would you be comfortable in a church that did not feature expository preaching as the norm?  Or is it overblown? 

Rick Warren says Jesus preached topical sermons. I don't agree. Most of his preaching was an example of Midrash, trying to squeeze and apply the meaning out of verses and passages. Although not exactly expository preaching, he was grappling with texts.

In my first book, The Midrash Key, I demonstrate how much of the Sermon on the Mount is an exposition of several portions of Deuteronomy and Leviticus (for example, Leviticus 19:9-18). So to me, expository preaching (done right) is very important.

So where are you on this?  Is the quest for expository preaching just a phase of the evangelical movement?  Share your thoughts, if you so desire.

Expository preaching is either a crucial or an important factor in the church I attend.
70% (19 votes)
I prefer expository preaching, but its import is exaggerated by many.
11% (3 votes)
Quality preaching -- whether expository or not -- is what I seek.
15% (4 votes)
I can take it or leave it.
0% (0 votes)
I don't really care for expository preaching.
0% (0 votes)
4% (1 vote)
Total votes: 27
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There are 3 Comments

Bert Perry's picture

If Jesus is the Author of Scripture--and John 1 seems to indicate just that--then would not any sermon by Him be expository in a sense?  Food for thought, I think.

Regarding us--not being the One who has every nuance known and so on--I treasure expository preaching simply because it allows the pastor less leeway in what he can do, including myself as I teach my family and do services at a local nursing home.  It forces me to really present as best I know what Scripture actually says, while limiting my ability to stand on my own soapbox.

It's also quite a bit easier for a beginning teacher--it is as if the exposition of Scripture in this way is the Spirit's way of saying "Here, son, you stand aside and let Me do the work, OK?".  I've seen a lot of people, not just myself, do just fine with expository preaching when they seemed hopelessly lost, or at least mediocre, in topical style preaching.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture


I'm the oddball around here on this one, but I think it's importance is often exaggerated. Anytime I have the opportunity to preach/teach for an extended number of weeks, I'm expository 95% of the time, just because that's so much easier for me. (Easier because the quantity of awesome truth available to teach is consistently overwhelming. It's so hard to choose. But once you're into a book, that's decided for you for a good while. You just do the next paragraph.) 

But I've seen "expository" done badly too many times to believe it's anything like a cure-all... and also have seen topical preaching done well too many times to think it's some kind of automatic fail.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.