Be expository, regardless of your style

Typically when you hear the label “expository preaching” it’s in reference to someone who teaches verse by verse through the Bible. It describes a preacher’s style. This understanding puts expository preaching in contrast to topical preaching… right before one of them is jokingly bashed by those in a different evangelical camp.

This is how I’ve always understood “expository”. I’ve tended to lean towards the topical camp just because that’s who I’ve been shaped by.

After reading Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson, I wrote a new realization in my notebook of thoughts: Expository preaching isn’t a style, it’s a philosophy.

Expository preaching is a commitment to preaching what the Bible says. It’s a commitment to start with the text and then let the text speak. It’s an approach to preaching, not a format.

Preachers are constantly tempted to make up a point and then search Scripture for support. That’s not expository. That’s proof texting.

My goal is to always be expository, regardless of how the truth is packaged.

How do you maintain expository philosophy while being topical in style?

  • Pick a topic
  • Search Scripture for where the topic is talked about.
  • Pick a text (a text… not 5)
  • Exegete the text
  • Teach what the text says about the topic

My hope is that we’d all embrace expository preaching, regardless of our style. People are searching for answers to life’s questions. Those answers are found in the Bible. Let’s just teach it.

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3 comments

    1. It is very interesting. One of my professors wrote a book that deals with understanding the New Testament’s use of the Old. Haven’t had time to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for the thought!

  1. I like what you say and your guide to getting there. It is important that the bible message can be translated into answers to our present day needs and culture and every message need to touch our hearts. Keep up the good work and Blessings!

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