Breaks in Exposition

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Dr. Bob, May 5, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    I am firmly convinced that the whole counsel of God is best done from the pulpit through expository and textual preaching. Not flitting from topic to topic, or trying to meet "felt needs" or "issues".

    But I took 4 weeks off at Advent to preach on Christmas themes, and 2 weeks (Palm/Easter) again to preach on themes. Now back in Philippians.

    Wonder if other pastors do the same or just continue plowing through a book right through the holidays, summer, etc?

    Thanks
     
  2. TomVols

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    I do the same thing you do, Dr. Bob. I take Advent, Easter season off from systematic consecutive expostion of the scriptures (SCEOTS, as one mentor called them). Occasionally will I do a doctrinal or topical study that is expository. There is value in doctrinal studies done expositionally, as well as say looking at "worship" for 13 weeks in an expository fashion. But I love preaching through Bible books and have found them to be most fruitful and beneficial to me and my people.
     
  3. Dan Todd

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    I've been in Romans for about 3 1/2 years and am only on chapter nine (it took me over six months to get through chapter 8). I like not having to pick a topic - and when I preach verse by verse through a book - the topics present themselves in the text. One great benefit to preaching verse by verse - the congregation cannot successfully accuse you of chosing a text to hit at their favorite sin - if the subject comes up - it comes up - and I can blame it on God - after all it's His Word.

    Occasionally I preach a special sermon on a holiday - did this last Easter - "Christ as the Passover Lamb."

    My congregation gets a break each month - as my head deacon is an ordained minister - and I have him preach the last Sunday of each month. He just finished the Book of Hebrews - I am curious as to what he will preach next.

    On a humorous note - about ten years ago I heard the late James Montgomery Boice - who was pastor of 10th Presbyterian in Philadelphia - at a Bible Conference at the King's College, Briarcliff Manor, NY. Our daughters went there to school. At the time he was preaching his way through Romans and writing a four volume commentary as he went along. At the time - he stated that he had spent 12 years getting through the first 13 chapter of Romans (or was it 13 years getting through the first 12 chapters). [He stated that he would on occasion digress from Romans as the need arose.] He told us that he only ever had one problem by preaching expository messages as he did - when he announced that he was going to preach through the Psalms on Sunday Evenings - an aged gentleman came up to him after the announcement and told him that he was going to leave the church - because as the old gent figured - he'd never live long enough for Boice to get through the Psalms. :D
     
  4. Dan Todd

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    The congregation, with a couple of exceptions, all had turned in their Bibles to Romans 9.

    I told them to go to Proverbs 1:8 - My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

    Then I preached a mother's day sermon. Maybe they will learn to expect the unexpected!!! :rolleyes:
     
  5. swaimj

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    Dan Todd said
    And he mentioned Boice saying...
    I suppose I have a philisophical difference with this method of preaching for two reasons. First, it is hard to see how the congregation is going to catch the flow and the argument of the book when it is presented in such small bites over such a long period. Second, it is hard to see how you are going to preach the whole counsel of God to the people in you entire ministry, seeing that you are going so slowly.

    Recently, I preached Rom 7:7-8:4 in one thirty minute sermon. On another week I preached all the way through Matthew 18 in one thirty minute sermon. I feel that by using a larger text, people get the flow of the argument and see how the pieces of the argument fit together. I am sure that you review often in your method and seek to accomplish this. Perhaps the level of education is lower among my congregants as well and that could certainly make a difference.

    I'm not trying to start an argument. Just trying to show that there is a different approach that others might consider.
     
  6. All about Grace

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    I just completed 64 sermons from the Gospel of John and have determined that I will not spend that amount of time in a single book again. I will not elaborate at this time, but I simply feel shorter series are better.

    I do maintain an expositional-application approach in whatever series I am preaching.
     
  7. Tony F

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    Just out of curiosity, if you were planting a church and assuming you would have a larger number of new converts than you would in an established church, would you preach through a book in the manner described or would you preach more topically (yet expositional on the passage of choice)
     
  8. j_barner2000

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    As an intern and only being used as pulpet supply, I am forced to preach more in a topical manner. I also fill in for the senior pastor on Tues night Bible studies. I would love to have a few months to go expository. I do get Children's church a month at a time and we do more expository there. I am covering Noah's ark over 6 weeks. Can't really go much deeper with 1st-6th graders.
     
  9. NateT

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    In regards to the question about a church with new converts. Although I am not a pastor (yet) I think I would still go book by book through the Bible, or at least expositionally through certain large sections.

    The reason for this is that you have a better understanding of what the scripture says. If pick a book and go through it, say 1 Corinthians, I will have a better appreciation for what the church of Corinth was going through. It helps put things in perspective and maintain a better context.

    Or put another way, if I were to take the letters my wife wrote me when we were dating (it was a long-distance relationship) and read them now, I might have some fond memories by reading a paragraph here or there out of each letter. But chances are, I'm going to miss out on a lot of things. She wrote me those letters to be read as a whole, and to me that seems to be the best approach.

    [side note: I may have a different understanding of exposition, I don't think it has to be preaching through a whole book to be exposition, but rather the method and process of discovering what the Word says - actually that's a paraphrase of Jerry Vines' definition].

    Then again, like I said, I'm not a pastor, just a pulpit supply preacher and part time seminarian for a while. So maybe some of the more experienced pastors have a better view than I do.
     
  10. Tony F

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    That is the way that I always understood expositional preaching. For example if you wanted to preach on marriage you might select Eph 5:22-33 and preach from that text rather than writing an entire sermon based on one's own opinions and filling in the Scripture as an afterthought (as so many of the "seeker-friendly" pastors do) In essence letting the text dictate the content of the sermon.

    Now I would be opposed to "topic hopping" and think that if you were going to preach somewhat topically to choose a main topic and preach a series on it choosing major passages that speak on that topic.

    In my experience, I have always seen the "preaching through a book" done moreso on a Wednesday evening Bible study, rather than on the Lord's Day.
     
  11. John Ellwood Taylor

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    Digging up an old forum for my first post...

    I was sent by our church to a rural village to preach to a congregation that had been without a pastor for approx. 10 years.
    After a few weeks of preaching essentials (Matt.7:21-23 & 1 Cor 1:18ff about salvation, John 4 & Romans 12:1-2 about worship, 1 Peter 2:1-3 & James 1 about the Word of God) I began exposition of the Gospel of John (you know: that they might know Jesus is the Son of God and believe) on Sunday mornings.
    Mid-week Bible Study is an interactive exposition of Romans (as one has said, "The Magna Charta of Christianity). I am a bi-vocational pastor, job is 37 miles to the north and the church is 23 miles to the south over country roads!
    I have studied/taught Romans more than once (so the preparation is not as strenuous- first time tried to read MacArthur, Hendriksen, Leon Morris ,AND Lloyd-Jones each week- couldn't keep up with MLJ volumes of reading). I have been listening to S Lewis Johnson’s Romans series on the laptop in the car (mp3s from Believer’s http://believers-chapel.org/ )
    I like John as well because the Greek is not that difficult and I feel I can do justice to a section of the text each week (although I only feel like I'm ready to preach after I have preached it once).
    We do break off the exposition on Sundays for a topical message occasionally when needed (spoke on healing when the issue came up, spoke on salvation when someone brought up the idea of being baptized to be saved, did special messages for Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day (Hannah)).

    While it may not be the only mark of a good preacher, it seems many blessing came to those who stayed in one pulpit and were committed to exposition of books of the Bible verse by verse (Lloyd-Jones, Criswell, MacArthur, etc.)
     
  12. USN2Pulpit

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    This phrase describes what I attempt, but I still go topically on Sunday mornings - but always using scripture in context. Sort of a topic, but expositional - and in a series of sermons, with only a few exceptions.

    I've found that there are large portions of scripture that have a certain theme, and can be broken down into separate messages. I believe this is still an expositional approach.
     

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