First off, what is expository preaching?
I would define it like this: The taking up of one text per sermon for the purpose of explanation, illustration, and application.
This style of preaching is different than, let’s say, topical preaching where the minister picks a topic and searches the Bible for verses that support his thought. No doubt there are times where this approach may be appropriate. But a steady diet of topical preaching can reveal a couple of weaknesses.
- One is that virtually anything can be taught this way because texts in topical sermons are easily treated out of context. Like the saying goes, “A text taken out of context becomes a pretext.”
- And two, ministers can get themselves into ruts because they tend to gravitate toward their strong personal convictions, which tend to be a few prominent things.
But there are pitfalls to biblical exposition as well:
- The running-commentary style. How do you avoid it? Make sure each sermon can stand on its own, without the need to have heard previous installments in the series.
- The academic style. Ways to avoid? The sermon needs to speak to everyday life, with plenty of illustration and relevant application. The preacher is not a lecturer, and Hebrew and Greek does not need to find its way into very many sermons.
Overcome these potential snares and I believe you have the most responsible way to preach the Word; and that’s one passage at a time with attention given to literary and historical context. The main point and subpoints of the text invariably become the main point and subpoints of the sermon.
What are its benefits?
The following are 3 huge benefits of an expository style of preaching.
- It is the method least likely to stray from Scripture. As my seminary professor once said, “The Bible is not a palate of color to preach your own imagination.” Preaching is primarily about faithfulness to the Word of God.
- It enables (and sometimes forces!) the preacher to handle tough questions. This ensures that the full counsel of God is being preached and protects the church from potential hobby horses of its pastor.
- It gives confidence to the church and authorizes the sermon. The congregation can be confident that they received a “thus saith the Lord.” God had something to say this morning!
Why should Pentecostals engage in it?
It has been my passion to see this type of preaching take root in the Pentecostal context. Pentecostalism has been a wonderful movement of the heart. As Pentecostals, we believe that God can be experienced and oftentimes our emotions are fully engaged. Expository preaching, on the other hand, is primarily known for its rich content and for its ability to stimulate the mind. My passion is to see churches cater to both the mind and the heart. There’s nothing like coming to church and being intellectually satisfied and emotionally engaged.
That’s ministry for the whole being – and that’s my #1 passion. Convergence of the Spirit and Word.