Expository Preaching

Thoughts on Preaching

I’ve been intentionally experimenting with my preaching over the past few years. I am grateful for the expository preaching model I was handed at seminary. It’s a good model. It’s the best model. But, there are different flavors within that broad framework. The past few Sundays, I’ve tried something radical for my sermon preparation. It is radical for me, but perhaps not for you. I shall share it, anon.

But, first some observations about expository preaching, as it is sometimes practiced―as I used to practice it!

Against audiobook commentary preaching

I have grown increasingly disappointed with a style of preaching I shall call “audiobook commentary.” This is where the pastor is basically an Audible version of an introductory bible commentary. Abraham Kuruvilla, whom I consider to be the ablest preaching teacher working in North America today, summarizes this pretty well:

This I call the hermeneutic of excavation—the exegetical turning over of tons of earth, debris, rock, boulders, and gravel: a style of interpretation that yields an overload of biblical and Bible-related information, most of it unfortunately not of any particular use for one seeking to preach a relevant message from a specific text.

1719 reads

Killing the lecture! A better way for preaching?

Abraham Kuruvilla’s A Vision for Preaching is a wonderful, refreshing book. The work is an exposition of one statement:1

Biblical preaching, by a leader of the church, in a gathering of Christians for worship, is the communication of the thrust of a pericope of Scripture discerned by theological exegesis, and of its application to that specific body of believers, that they may be conformed to the image of Christ, for the glory of God—all in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I will focus on two aspects; (1) the thrust of the passage,2 and (2) how to apply scripture.

The sermon—bullet or buckshot?

Like many pastors, I read Haddon Robinson’s book Biblical Preaching at seminary. In that classic tome, Robinson explained his “big idea” approach to preaching:3

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Preach the Word

From Faith Pulpit, Summer 2020.

“Preach the word.” Paul’s pastoral command rings with clarity in the heart and mind of everyone who aspires to fulfill the biblical duties of the pastor (2 Tim. 4:2). The world today rejects the authority of God’s Word as well as its proclamation. The world and even many evangelicals see the Bible as outdated and inadequate as a guide for life. If we believe that the Scriptures are indeed inspired and the product of the breath of God, we must proclaim the Bible as the word of truth, the destiny-changing message, and the life-changing gospel that transforms a sinner into a child of God.

A First Commitment

Preaching the Word demands several basic commitments from those who desire to be faithful to this command. First, the command prescribes our message, namely that we restrict the content of preaching to “the word.”

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Expositional Imposters (Expanded)

"I have heard (and preached!) sermons that intend to be expositional, yet fall somewhat short. Below are a dozen pitfalls: five that don’t make the message of the passage the message of the sermon and thus abuse the text, five that fail to connect the text the congregation, and two that fail to recognise that preaching is ultimately God’s work." - 9 Marks

7870 reads

The Messiness of Being Human

Reposted from The Cripplegate

Part 1

Here’s a glimpse into the sausage factory of expository preaching. A while back my commitment to consecutive exposition was acutely tested. I tackled the chapter every seminoid dreads from the day he graduates, namely Leviticus 15 (you know, the heart-warming one about emissions and discharges of various bodily fluids). The challenges of preaching this sticky wicket are manifold.

First, the preacher himself needs to understand why there is legislation on bodily leakiness in the Bible.

Second, he needs to publicly read and explain the text without blushing or evoking any unsolicited giggles from the congregation.

Third, the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed from the text, and not just gratuitously or tangentially, but in a way that people grasp the connection and are moved to worship. And finally, application for today needs to be drawn from the Mosaic Law, which is fulfilled in Christ and no longer binding on Church-age believers.

No sweat.

1383 reads

5 Myths about Expository Teaching in Youth Groups

"Topical teaching is not bad, and it does have a place in our projects. I also believe, however, that expositional teaching – when done well with young people – covers all the topics that we’d want to cover anyway. I believe it does this with more healthy and specific applications, while also imparting skills in how to handle the Bible." - Church Leaders 

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