Expository Preaching

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Dec 15, 2001.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    I have just attended an ordination service of a relative. I attended as a visitor and heard a decent sermon/charge. In the course of the sermon, the speaker read the following quote. I asked him for a copy of it. He said this came from Preaching Magazine. The author is also quoting from another source which is only identified by the article. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In an article entitled "The Value of Expository Preaching and Teaching," Roger Johnson laments that "all too often the biblical passage read to the congregation resembles the national anthem played at sporting events - it gets things started but is not referred to again during the lesson. Furthermore, there is (a) the clown prince who occupies some pulpits. This person views preaching as means for bringing a smile or chuckle to those who listen. Therefore, he turns from biblical preaching to entertain. He models his message after nightclub comics rather than after the crucified and resurrected Lord. Then there is (b) the psychological pump-primer. This pious piddling pulpiteer peddles psychological pep pills for pale and puny people. He sincerely hopes that his sermons, filled with psychiatric jargon, will scare away the upcoming 'blue Monday', tension headaches, acid indigestion, family quarrels and feeble Friday. Inevitably, he treats only the symptoms rather than causes. Is it any wonder that such pulpits are characterized by a pathetic poverty of content?

    On the other hand, expository preaching puts content, power, substance and authority into preaching. The expositor pulls up his chair where the inspired authors sat as he deals with an explanation of Scripture, focusing the listener's attention on the Bible. He realized that the authority behind preaching resides not in the preacher but in the biblical text. Being conscious and aware of his own inadequacy and weakness, he discovers the power of God in the Word he preaches, which is 'living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword'...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I thought the quote worth sharing with Baptist Board readers. I strongly agree with the content of what Johnson says, though I might differ a little methodologically. We have a number of advocates in this area that believe expository preaching (which I would equate with a certain way of developing and delivering a text) is the only way to preach biblically. I am a little uneasy the way he stated that "expository preaching puts content, power, substance and authority into preaching." If I can understand that he means it does so because it is full of the word of God, I have no problem with it. But to equate a certain way of developing a text with doing this is a little much. That disclaimer offered, I think Johnson's thoughts are precise and penetrating.

    [ December 15, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  2. TomVols

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    Rlvaugh,
    Ah, you've touched on the tension always around when expository preaching is mentioned. Namely, is expository preaching a form or a philosophy? Most people believe it is a certain form, a certain way you develop a sermon. I agree with John Stott (from his excellent book Between Two Worlds, that an expository sermon is expository before the preparation has ever started and definitely before the sermon is ever delivered. The mechanics of delivery may vary, but the philosophy behind the sermon is the driving force, and that philosopy leads the preacher to deal with the explanation and application of Biblical truth, regardless of the form. Alistair Begg and Martyn Lloyd Jones (Preaching and Preachers) seem to argue for this as well. In other words, a narrative sermon can be expository or it can not be. A "three-point and a poem" sermon can be expository or not. When I get to the office, I'll post some quotes from the above authors if that will help.
     
  3. TomVols

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    Now that the forum is back, we can resume this discussion. BUMP
     
  4. Don

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    Clarification, please.

    Someone referenced expository preaching, and then referenced narrative preaching; the inference was that they go hand in hand.

    Narrative preaching, by its nature, is inherently expository; but is expository preaching inherently narrative?

    Personally, I don't think so. The pastor who reads a passage and is inspired to create a "3 point and a poem" outline can be just as expository as the pastor who emphasizes narrative preaching.

    And the narrative preaching pastor can be just as far off-base, and thus non-expositional, as the pastor who creates 3 points and then searches out scripture to support those points.

    I recently had to write a review on the following article from 1991: http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj2c.pdf

    But I do agree, wholeheartedly, that expositional preaching should be our main focus.
     
  5. rlvaughn

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    Tom, I think the quotes to which you referred would prove interesting. Based on what I have learned and experienced, expository preaching has been presented as a text governing the points of a sermon. For example, one might take a text of II Timothy 3:14-4:4 and develop it thusly, with 4:2a as the title: PREACH THE WORD - 1. Preach the word with confidence, for it is inspired (3:16,17); 2. Preach the word with fear, for we must answer to God (4:1); 3. Preach the word with power, for evil times come (4:2-4). I really only brought up the point because this is the type of preaching advocated as the only way to preach by certain landmark Baptists here in my area. Although such an approach is full of the word and I certainly have no objection to it, I have never found any recorded New Testament sermon developed in such a manner.

    [ December 22, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  6. qwerty

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    Expository Preaching - a good way to be able to use your library (those books were very expensive, and surely, those authors had to know what they were talking about, since they were so much smarter than those who didn't write), and be convincing even if you don't know much about what you're talking about.

    Expository preaching should really be called Echo preaching. Echo preaching is when a person does not really want to hear from God for themselves, and teach out of their life, and what God has taught them. It is much easier to just go to the library and pull out the volumes that somebody else has written on the topic, and pull together several views, and present it as a package, and voila!, you've impressed the impressionable. Echo preaching is the opposite of being a VOICE.

    After all, there isn't really anything new under the sun, right? Everything that can be known is already known, and written down, so all a pastor has to do is just package the message, or Echo what many more astute people have already discovered.

    Expository preaching makes a weak church.

    Have many times have you heard the CROSS preached on for 13 weeks? It was great!! Or the KINGDOM OF GOD for two months? Or the BODY OF CHRIST, or HEAVEN, or JESUS?

    Expository preaching is a non-discipleship method of teaching. There is no dialog allowed, so it's just assumed that somebody in the audience is learning something.

    If you really want to do something dangerous, preach through the book of James. I have been amazed that in all my 46 years in the church, I have only heard the book of James taught through once, and not in a Baptist church. I guess the Holy Spirit has not led very many pastors to go through the book of James. After all, Martin Luther wanted to throw it out.

    Take a survey in your church. What are the results of expository teaching? Who is learning what? After you have taught through a book, do you find out if anybody learned anything?
     
  7. TomVols

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    querty,
    Sounds like you have no idea what expository preaching is. Not surprising. It is a fuzzy term. Expository preaching is very discipleship based and is the most effective means of preaching available. It is certainly better than the preacher trying to be a social commentator or just preaching his hobby horse themes all the time. At the very least, it sounds like you are railing against a caricature of what you think expository preaching is. You would do well to look at the matter fully and Scripturally. (Cf Neh 8)
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

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  9. Dr. Bob

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    When I read qwerty's nonsense about expository preaching, I thought of a different word than "bump". :rolleyes:
     
  10. ATeenageChristian

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    What is expoistory preaching anyways? :confused:
     
  11. qwerty

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    Having been active in the church for over 40 years, and having preached on a variety of occasions, please help me understand what your definition of expository preaching is.

    I would like to know what you view as success after you have preached through a passage or book using the expository form.
     
  12. swaimj

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    I don't see expository preaching as a particular homiletical form. If that is what you have experienced, I can see how it could become boring to people. A good description of expository preaching is found in Nehemiah 8:8. They "read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God, and that gave the sense (they interpreted the scripture), adn helped them understand the reading". The result of this was a revival. Vs. 9 says the people wept when the heard the words of the Law. In vs 10, they were calmed by the Levis and in verse 11 the people went their way and rejoiced "because they understood the words that were declared to them". Amen. May this happen in our day!
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Expository Preaching comes from the root "expose". It takes a verse or very short passage and "exposes" the truth in it in a logical format so that GOD'S truth is proclaimed, rather than Man's ideas.

    Many pastors use this while preaching THROUGH a particular Bible book. You can imagine it would take about 100 messages to cover the Gospel of Matthew - but every word in every verse would be preached. The message would be GOD'S and the Holy Spirit could work mightily.

    Most preachers select a text randomly, a topic or perceived need, maybe a theme, perhaps a biography or a narrative (story telling). I think these are all fine for a short variation, but have found in 30+ years of pastoring that the people GROW in the knowledge of the Lord and the Word through consistent, detailed exposition of the Word, verse by verse.

    ps - One side blessing is that the pastor may begin preparing a yaer in advance. He knows the various subjects to be covered and when a news item, an illustration, etc will relate, or a passage that will illumine the points, he can note it by that particular text.
     
  14. ATeenageChristian

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    Oh my pastor does that. [​IMG]
     
  15. TomVols

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    Consider the following: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Expository preaching is not a matter of style at all. In fact, the determinative step which decides whether a sermon is going to be expository or not takes place, in my view, before a single word has actually been written or spoken. First and foremost, th eadjective 'expository' describes the method by which the preacher decides what to say, not how to say it (Emphasis mine)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Roy Clements, The Cambridge Papers, quoted in Alistair Begg's "Preaching For God's Glory,"Crossway Books.

    [ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  16. TomVols

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    Interesting footnote: Grame Goldsworthy, in his excellent work Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, points out that Haddon Robinson's classic work Biblical Preaching was published in Great Britain under the title Expository Preaching because the publisher (IVP) felt the terms were interchangable.
     
  17. Bible Thumper

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    Two of the best expository-type preachers that I know of would be John MacArthur, and my pastor. I've learned more from these two men in just a few years time than I had from a half dozen preachers in the previous 10 years.

    One thing I simply cannot stand is a "sermonette." You get one verse (two if you're lucky), and then anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes of blah...blah...blah. No meat, and hardly any milk.

    Until next time, take care y'all!!

    AJC :cool:
     
  18. TomVols

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    Yeah, sadly the pulpits and airwaves are filled with guys who read a text, then the sermon and text never meet again. Unbelievable.
     
  19. Siegfried

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    I agree with most of the recent comments on expository preaching, but I want to clarify one thing.

    Expository preaching is more than just going through a passage or book verse by verse. I've heard preachers do that and still manage to completely fail to communicate the meaning of the text.

    Expository preaching is based on a belief that the specific message (a text) God sent through a specific individual (inspiration) to a specific audience (Theophilus, the church at Ephesus, etc.) contains timeless truth (for us). EP identifies that message and what it meant to the life situation (circumstances, problems, obstacles) of the original audience. It then attempts to apply that message to the life situation of the modern-day preacher's audience.

    It attempts to define the one accurate interpretation of the text and communicate one or more of perhaps many valid applications. It is always committed to communicating God's message, not what man wants that message to be.
     
  20. TomVols

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    Sig,
    See earlier posts. You'll even find where I posted one about the determinative factor in expository preaching occuring before the sermon ever begins.
     

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