Reformed Pastor Completes Brief 47-Year-Long Sermon Series On Book Of Romans

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Aaron Blumer's picture


I have seen this approach. It's not really exposition. It's "read a verse until you come to an interesting word or topic, then launch an exhaustive topical/word study for several weeks before moving on to the next word or topic in the verse."

The reason it's not exposition is because it quickly turns into a series of topical messages/lessons that have little to do with what the biblical writer of the passage was focused on communicating to an original audience. Not a fan of the approach. Hearers learn everything but Romans or Corinthians or whatever book the study is supposed to be about.

TylerR's picture


This kind of thing is really no better than the trampoline jump from text to "whatever" that so many people make fun of. If you want to teach systematic theology, than go for it - but don't use a biblical book as a springboard to do it. 

Several years ago, I did the Gospel of John in 60 sermons, and it took about 17 months. I think it was too long. Now, in the Gospel of Mark, I'm 15 sermons in and finished six chapters. I take the text passage by passage, where the natural divisions and transitions come. That means some sermons are meatier than others. I think I'll wrap the whole thing up in perhaps 35 sermons.

I find that the shorter sermons (35 - 40 mins max) are punchier and have a better impact. The best sermons I've preached have been 30-35 minutes. The key is to let some things go and major on the most important things. That's tough. I still marvel that, about six weeks ago, I successfully did Phil 2:1-11 and discussed two-nature Christology, and the concepts of "person" and "nature," within a 32 minute sermon. 

So, in a way, I think the best exposition isn't verse by verse; it's passage by passage. You can't cram everything in. If you want to do that, write a commentary. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

I knew a man that pastored a church and began going through Romans immediately.  He resigned 6 years later and was on chapter 5.

Like Aaron said, that is not expostion.

I call it the "excuse" method of preaching. A text gives you the excuse to take a word or phrase and do a topical sermon on that word or phrase, but gives the pretext of being exposition.



"The Midrash Detective"

Bert Perry's picture

Tyler, I'd go you one "better"; if you're going verse by verse, you're almost deliberately ignoring the context, paving the way for reinforced concrete eisegesis.  No?  I would even suggest that one ought to mitigate or outright avoid that tendency in a commentary.  

I got a kick out of this one, but I sure can see how Ed would see too much reality in it to find it humorous.  My condolences, bro!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.