Nordic Preacher

Northern Reflections on Preaching, Theology and the Christian Life.

Category: Preaching


Why the Church Needs Expository Preaching

The benefits of expository preaching are numerous, this is because it is the Word of God, the Bible, that the Holy Spirit uses to build up and sanctify believers (John 17:17). Some of those benefits can be summarized under the three following headings, explaining what expository preaching exemplifiesteaches, and produces.

1. What Expository Preaching Exemplifies

It models for the church congregation the great importance of faithful and diligent Bible study, it also shows them how they are to approach and interpret the Bible correctly. It exemplifies to them a righteous reverence and submission to the Word of God. It exemplifies that our thoughts and understanding about God cannot be based on our own ideas or even the pastor’s own ideas, but rather they need to be grounded in Scripture. It exemplifies a reliance on the ultimate author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, who gives understanding to believers when they diligently and prayerfully study the Word of God.

2. What Expository Preaching Teaches

What it teaches a congregation is more that just the interpretation of specific Bible verses, it also teaches great overarching truths about God, the church, life and doctrine. When faithful expository preaching is practiced it teaches the congregation that Christ is the head of the church, not the pastor or anyone else. It is not the pastor’s own ideas that are being taught, rather it is the word of Christ that is expounded and preached. When the Bible is being preached, it teaches the congregation that the Word of God is the highest authority, not human ideas or preferences. When the Scriptures are faithfully expounded and applied to the listeners it shows how biblical doctrine and everyday life are intrinsically connected, it show that God has revealed all we need to live in a way that pleases and honors him.

3. What Expository Preaching Produces

What it produces is the work of the Holy Spirit who uses the Word of God to achieve his purposes. The Spirit uses the faithful proclamation of his Word to convict people of sin and convert them to Christ. The Spirit also uses the Word to sanctify believers in the truth.

Faithful teaching and proclamation of God’s Word will produce converted people in the congregation, according to the will of God. If a pastor preaches his own ideas instead of the Bible he might be able to emotionally manipulate and affect people to some degree, but whatever the result, it is in the end of no eternal value in the eyes of God. But when the preacher seeks to faithfully teach and preach the Word of God to his congregation, this is what God uses to achieve his purposes that will result in the Holy Spirit using the Word of God to convict and convert people to Christ.

Faithful biblical exposition will also continue to teach and mature those believers who have been converted by the Spirit of God. They will hear God’s truth and grow in their understanding of divine truth and how to rightly think and live according to the will of God. This maturity is also expressed in their continuing sanctification by the Word of truth and growing in the likeness of Christ.

A congregation that hears consistent faithful expository preaching will be a strong church that understands the will of God and seeks to walk in submission to his Word. The example of a faithful expositor will also help produce future church leaders in the congregation. When people sit under the clear exposition of God’s Word, being mentored and taught both by the content and example of the pastor, this will help them to see what they are to strive for and imitate their pastor in faithfully serving Christ and accurately preaching his Word.


Defining and Defending Expository Preaching

What is Expository Preaching?

Expository preaching is the faithful teaching and proclamation of God’s Word, the Bible.

It is expository in content, as the preacher aided by the Holy Spirit seeks to clearly teach and explain the God intended original meaning of Scripture in its context.

It is preaching in its form of delivery, as the preacher passionately proclaims the timeless truth derived from the original meaning of the text and faithfully exhorts the listeners to respond to the Word of God.

The Biblical Basis for Expository Preaching

The biblical basis for expository preaching could be summarised under the three following headings: the nature of Scripture, the example of Scripture, and the command of Scripture.

1. The Nature of Scripture

The nature of Scripture being the very Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) demands that it is to be taught, explained and preached so that believers might be sanctified by the Word (John 17:17) and that sinners would be convicted by the Word and repent (Acts 2:37-28; Hebrews 4:12-13). The inerrancy of Scripture demands expository preaching, since as the Word of God is true in its smallest detail, it therefore deserves from the preacher prayerful and detailed study in order to be confident that he has correctly understood the Word of God so that he can live in light of it and faithfully preach it to others.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV)

2. The Example of Scripture

In the Scriptures we find examples of expository preaching. The book of Deuteronomy is the record of Moses expounding the Law of God to Israel (Deuteronomy 1:5), teaching them the meaning of the Law and commanding them to act accordingly (Deuteronomy 6:1-2). Ezra studied the Law of Yahweh (Ezra 7:10) and then taught the people publicly the clear meaning of God’s Law so that they could understand it (Nehemiah 8:8). One of the examples in the New Testament is Peter when he preached on Pentecost (Acts 2:16-40).

“They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8, ESV)

3. The Command of Scripture

The final and perhaps most compelling reason for expository preaching is the clear commands of Scripture that demand expository preaching, specifically the commands given by Paul to Timothy to preach the Word by reading, exhorting and teaching the Scriptures (1 Timothy 4:13, 2 Timothy 4:1-2).

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13, ESV)

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2, ESV)

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