Why I Preach Through Books of the Bible

Phil Newton: I had a conversation with a minister friend who had been involved in discussing what pastors were preaching in their churches. While most seemed to agree that exposition of the biblical text must have priority in the church, few thought it wise to preach consecutively through books of the Bible—particularly with series that extended beyond twelve weeks. I understand the challenge of longer series but also see the value in the long run. The forty-four sermons that I preached through Ephesians in 1990–91, literally transformed my life, theology, and congregation. Eight or ten sermons would not have sufficed to uproot faulty theology and set us on a right course. The fifty-two sermons in Hebrews in 2000–01, sharpened our understanding of the gospel and its application to the whole of life. What would you say had you been involved in the discussion? Here are a few thoughts that I’ve ruminated on since that conversation: (1) Pastors have the responsibility

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What is expository preaching?

Erik Raymond: I can think of five different but equally interesting conversations over the last couple of years where I’ve discussed expository preaching. They were interesting because those I talked with had such different understanding of what exposition is. This is one of the byproducts stemming from the rise in the popularity of exposition; people hear a lot about it but don’t necessarily know a lot about it. For example, people characterize expository preaching as a running commentary. Others label it out-of-touch doctrinal preaching fit for the ivory tower. Still others think of it as a launching point for systematic theology (whether or not it’s in the text). So, what exactly is expository preaching? I have culled a sampling of definitions from some prominent authors who define exposition in their books on preaching. Although the list has a variety of definitions, I trust you will see many common themes emphasized here. John MacArthur: The message finds its sole source in Scripture.

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The necessity of expository preaching

  Derek Thomas: According to the legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, the best thing he ever did was to discover the “fundamentalist” teacher Jack Grout, who taught him the basics that he has followed ever since. Great preachers, like great golfers, follow basic rules. The more they practice these rules, the better they become. One such rule, put succinctly in English prose that now sounds dated, but which is as needful now as when it was first penned, comes from the Directory for the Publick Worship of God, written in 1645 by the Westminster Assembly of Divines. When raising a point from the text, the directory says, preachers are to ensure that “it be a truth contained in or grounded on that text, that the hearers may discern how God teacheth it from thence.” In other words, preaching must enable those who hear it to understand their Bibles. In laying down this principle, the divines were following the first book on homiletics to

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Protect Your Church in One Simple Step

Tim Challies: A few days ago I tried to demonstrate how a church self-destructs. There is a sad progression that begins with the people growing weary and ashamed of truth. No longer able or willing to endure sound teaching, they get rid of the truth-tellers and accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. Inevitably, they soon turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. All of this is laid out in chapter four of 2 Timothy. In the face of this kind of assault, Paul juxtaposes the simplest solution: Preach. It’s as simple as that one step, that one commitment. The church that remains faithful to God is the church that remains faithful to the Word of God. The healthy church is the preaching church. Here, as I see it in 2 Timothy 4:2, are Paul’s specific instruction for the kind of preaching that glorifies God and protects the church. Preach Expositorily It is

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Seven Qualities of Expository Preaching

By Wayne McDill: Among evangelicals, the term expository preaching has come to stand for authentic biblical preaching. However, exactly what constitutes expository preaching varies from writer to writer and preacher to preacher. I have talked with preachers who described themselves as “expositors,” and I believed them until I heard them preach. For many, exposition seems to mean taking a text and preaching on the subject the passage seems to address. For others exposition means defining some of the words in the text. For others expository preaching seems to mean giving a history lesson on a text with most of the sermon in the past tense. The word exposition is from the Latin, expositio, meaning “a setting forth, narration, or display.” As applied to preaching, the word has come to mean the setting forth or explanation of the message of the biblical text. In expository preaching the sermon is designed to communicate what the text says, including its meaning for the contemporary

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Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship

Albert Mohler: Evangelical Christians have been especially attentive to worship in recent years, sparking a renaissance of thought and conversation on what worship really is and how it should be done. Even if this renewed interest has unfortunately resulted in what some have called the “worship wars” in some churches, it seems that what A. W. Tozer once called the “missing jewel” of evangelical worship is being recovered. Nevertheless, if most evangelicals would quickly agree that worship is central to the life of the church, there would be no consensus to an unavoidable question: What is central to Christian worship? Historically, the more liturgical churches have argued that the sacraments form the heart of Christian worship. These churches argue that the elements of the Lord’s Supper and the water of baptism most powerfully present the gospel. Among evangelicals, some call for evangelism as the heart of worship, planning every facet of the service—songs, prayers, the sermon—with the evangelistic invitation in

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Preaching as Expository Exultation

John Piper: Expository means that preaching aims to exposit, or explain and apply, the meaning of the Bible. Every sermon explains and applies the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible is God’s word, inspired, infallible, profitable—all sixty-six books of it. The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Therefore, it is mainly Bible exposition—explanation and application. And the preacher’s job is to do that in a way that enables us to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If they come from the Bible and you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will rest on man and not God. The aim of this exposition is to help you eat and digest some biblical truth that will make your spiritual bones more like steel, and double the capacity of your spiritual lungs, and make the eyes of your heart dazzled with God’s greatness,

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A Biblical Case for Expositional Preaching

By Mike Bullmore: What is expositional preaching? A sermon is expositional if its content and intent are controlled by the content and intent of a particular passage of Scripture. The preacher says what the passage says, and he intends for his sermon to accomplish in his listeners exactly what God is seeking to accomplish through the chosen passage of his Word. Preacher, imagine God sitting in the congregation as you preach. What will be the expression on his face? Will it say, “That’s not at all what I was getting at with that passage.” Or will it say, “Yes, that’s exactly what I intended.” The biblical case for expositional preaching starts with the connection between the gift the ascended Christ has given to the church in pastor-teachers (Eph 4:11) and the biblical injunction for pastors-teachers to “preach the word” (2 Tim 4:2). Those who preach should preach their Bibles. Perhaps the best place to begin demonstrating the legitimacy of identifying preaching and

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Ten Reasons for Expository Preaching

Expository preaching identifies exactly what is at the heart of the Christian message Expository preaching requires that the shepherd concern himself with the intent of the Divine Author for every text. Expository preaching respects the integrity of the textual units given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Expository preaching keeps the pastor from riding his favourite hobby horses. Expository preaching requires the preacher to preach the difficult or obscure texts and challenging truths of the Bible. Expository preaching will encourage both pastor and students alike to become students of the Bible. Expository preaching gives us boldness in preaching for we are not expounding our own fallible views but the Word of God. Expository preaching gives confidence to the listener that what he is hearing is not the opinion of man but the Word of God. Expository preaching is of great assistance in sermon planning. Expository preaching provides the context for a long tenure in a particular place. (HT: Matthew

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