The Reasons for Expository Preaching
“…the glory of the Christian pulpit is a borrowed glow.… To an alarming extent the glory is departing from the pulpit of the twentieth century.… The Word of God has been denied the throne and given a subordinate place” (p. 5)
“Why do we have to turn to the human sciences at all? Why? Because for years we have failed to expound the whole of Scripture. Because from our weakened exposition and our superficial topical talks we have produced a generation of Christian sheep having no shepherd. And now we are damning ourselves more deeply than ever by our recourse to the wisdom of the world.”(p. xvi)
“As it was with Christ and the apostles, so Scripture is also to be delivered by preachers today in such a way that they can say, “Thus saith the Lord.” Their responsibility is to deliver it as it was originally given and intended” (p. 27)
“If the Bible is unable to produce a sound doctrine of Scripture, then it is thus incapable of producing, with any degree of believability or credibility, a doctrine about any other matter” (p. 31).
“The preaching in the Bible mandates only one biblical response for the post-biblical age: Continue to explain and exposit the message now fully revealed” (p. 42).
“All preaching must be expository preaching if it is to conform to the pattern of Scripture” (p. 42).
Definitions of Expository Preaching
“According to Webster, an exposition is a discourse to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand” (p. 10-11)
“Expositional preaching seeks to clarify what is difficult to understand in a passage. It opens up the Word and exposes the less obvious meanings and applications it contains” (p. 222)
“The size of the text is immaterial, so long as it is biblical. What matters is what we do with it” (p. 58).
“Preparing for genuine expository preaching involves far more than engaging in legitimate word studies. Not only are the Bible’s words God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16), but so also are the relationships of those words to one another” (p . 154).
“The syntax and structure of a passage lie at the very heart of true expository preaching” (p. 226).
“Just as verse-by-verse preaching is not necessarily expository, preaching that is not verse-by-verse is not necessarily non-expository” (p. 255).
The Elements of Expository Preaching
“None of these three elements [introductions, illustrations, and conclusions] can replace the Holy Spirit’s work of impacting people with the power of God’s Word. However, to ignore or minimize these proven features of good communication makes a preacher negligent in exercising his human responsibility to be as effective as possible” (p. 242).
“The emphasis that writers of Scripture place on illustrations should be a most compelling motivation for us to walk in their footsteps” (p. 248).
“To every preacher of righteousness as well as to Noah, wisdom gives the command, ‘A window shalt thou make in the ark.’ You may build up laborious definitions and explanations and yet leave your hearers in the dark as to your meaning; but a thoroughly suitable metaphor will wonderfully clear the sense” (p. 293-94).
“Illustrate, by all means, but do not let the sermon be all illustrations, or it will be only suitable for an assembly of simpletons” (p. 295).
Warnings to Consider
“A major danger for those who prefer neat, three- or-four-point outlines with parallel points is that the passage may not lend itself to that luxury” (p. 233-34).
“Communicate the message; don’t just outline it” (p. 233).
“Don’t you ever go into a pulpit unprepared. And if you say ‘The Bible says…’ you make sure to the best of your ability that it truly does say that” (p. 297).
“It is not the translator’s job to mediate between God’s Word and modern culture as the commentator or expositor does” (p. 320).
“We must not get in the way, but rather allow our texts to ‘preach’ themselves” (p. 154).
“We must never study a passage to find a sermon. We must study a passage to see completely the truth the Lord is teaching in it, and prepare the sermon out of the overflow of that comprehensive grasp and personal application of the passage” (p. 94)
“A major precaution to observe is not to preach exegetical data from the pulpit. Because the expositor has been enlightened so much by what he has discovered, his initial impulse may be to pass on to his people the excitement of his discovery in the same terminology as he received it. This is a major mistake” (p. 143)
“Even if they cannot recall the outline (they probably will not—sorry!), that Word of Scripture will still speak to them because they have thought through its structure and shape in such a way as to have decisively met God in that text” (p. 159).
“It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others” (p. 178 Spurgeon)
“What the Bible itself teaches often differs considerably from the ways one uses the Bible to teach” (p. 285).
“I find that explaining problems generates high interest” (p. 290).
“As you preach a message, periodically reviewing its outline reminds your people where you are” (p. 296).
“If each teacher of others went himself to the school of our one only Master, a thousand errors might be avoided” (p. 330).
“Edward Payson…‘… studied theology on his knees’” (p. 80).
“Translations can never cover all the nuances of the original text. This is the key area in which an expositor can add to his listeners’ knowledge of the text because they usually will be limited to what they can glean from a translation in their native tongue” (p. 139).
“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God” (p. 93).