Question: What is Expositional Preaching
Answer: Listen to John MacArthur sermons and you will get what expositional preaching/teaching is. I have for the last 40 years listen to John on tape (1971-1996) Today all his sermons are on tape or video.
John MacArthur teaching at the Master’s Seminary
Having studied this way of preaching from a number of preachers. I took the course from the Master’s Seminary, first on what was it called eight track, a series by John MacArthur back in the early 1990. Read the book by the Master’s staff. Then going to the Shepherd’s Conferences a number of times.
What I must say, as I hear myself preach/teach, get too involved with the text, and must confess that reading my notes is a habit that has been part of the preaching for years.
Answer: Expositional preaching at its simplest is preaching that is focused on explaining the meaning of Scripture in its historical and grammatical context. Expositional preaching involves explaining what the Bible says to a contemporary audience that is likely unfamiliar with the cultural and historical settings that the passage was written in.
The word exposition simply means to “a setting forth or explanation.” So expositional preaching is the explanation of Scripture that is based upon diligent study and careful exegesis of a passage. It is the primary call of the pastor or preacher as we see in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”
Expositional preaching is important to those who believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, which simply means that the Scriptures are the very Word of God. As God’s divinely inspired Word, the Scriptures need to be proclaimed and explained in the context in which they were written.
Simply reading Psalm 119 and understanding that Scripture is “God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) should be enough for us to understand the importance and value of expositional preaching. In Psalm 119 we see many of the characteristics of God’s Word, but most of all this chapter should help us understand the importance of knowing what the Bible says and what it means, which is the goal of expositional preaching. If we do not understand the Bible, we cannot follow it, nor can it be a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
The goal of expositional preaching is to declare precisely what a passage of Scripture says. So the sermon outline of an expository sermon will have gotten its main points and sub-points directly from the text of Scripture the preacher is expounding or explaining.
There should be two main goals of expositional preaching.
First is the goal to discover and explain the original, historic, and grammatical meaning of the passage, or, to put it another way, “God’s intended meaning.” This is the divinely inspired message that God had for the original audience.
The second is closely related—to help people apply to their lives the truths revealed in the passage. Some discount the ability of expositional preaching to address the needs of today’s churchgoers, but that overlooks the fact that “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The power to transform lives is found only in the Word of God as applied by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men and women. Great presentation is good but it is not life-changing. While there is a place for topical preaching, it needs to supplement expositional preaching, not replace it.
Expositional preaching is important because, when faithfully followed, it results in the full counsel of God being preached. Difficult or controversial subjects cannot be ignored or overlooked as they can with topical preaching. The expositor deals with what the text says, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. It helps avoid taking verses out of context and forces the faithful pastor to give due diligence to controversial and difficult issues and subjects.
Some who want to downplay the importance of expositional preaching say it limits the preacher’s ability to present relevant topics that they believe their congregations need to hear. These critics fail to recognize the effective power of the Word of God, which, when presented in the fullness of its truth, does not come back void (Isaiah 55:11).
Recommended Resources: Preaching: How to Preach Biblically by John MacArthur and a number of other websites and books.
Kindle Fire has been great since 2012 I bought in December. These are the books which have been downloaded about the preacher and preaching:
- Preaching by Fred B.Craddock
- Biblical Preaching by Haddon H. Robinson
- Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible by Thomas G. Long
- Is There a Meaning of the Text
- How to Study the Bible b7 Robert West
- Understanding Scripture by Wayne Grudem, Collins, Schreiner
- Preach by Mark Dever
- Why Jonnie Can’t Preach by T. D. Gordon
- Privilege of the Text by Kurvilla
- The Kind of Preaching God Blesss by Steve Lawson
- Preaching and Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd=Jones