Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Preach the Word

I wish someone had sat me down and shared the exceeding value of preaching expository sermons when I started pastoring. I was coming up with 4-5 topical messages every week right out of Bible College and I thought I was going to kill myself doing it. I would wrestle and wrestle with what topic to preach about, but found myself becoming drier spiritually.

Then one day I realized that if I preached expositorily my preaching would actually be richer and my study time more focused. I could preach on topics as they come up in the text that I wouldn’t otherwise touch doing a topical message or series. I also realized I was creating a better sense of the wider and deeper appreciation of Scripture within the congregation (and myself) rather than fragmented passages strung together creating a pastiche of whatever I could come up with. It forced me to wrestle with the difficult portions of Scripture and to wrestle with the context of God’s dealing with His people throughout the ages. I believe I have become a better reader of Scripture and a better listener to the voice of the Spirit to the church through a faithful hearing of God’s word.

I have since advised many younger pastors to preach expository messages and was delighted to see that Enrichment Journal just posted an article dealing with this topic from a Pentecostal perspective on their online section ( “Why Pentecostals Don’t Preach Expository Sermons” ). What do you think about expository preaching? What are some of its weaknesses or strengths as you understand them?

4 comments:

  1. Rick,

    I only have positives to report regarding preaching expository messages. And to preach them sequentially through a book of the Bible does bring many benefits. A congregation gets to see the Bible explained in the way that it was given. The preacher does have the advantage of "arriving" at passages that tell us hard things. We avoid focusing on the few things that we want to make priorities, and instead get a fuller look at God's agenda and priorities.

    I had a great privilige and advantage to grow up with a pastor (my dad) who was always preaching through a book of the Bible. I just thought that was normal. In seminary, I attended my homiletics professor's church, and he also made great use of preaching expositorily through a book. When I got away from it a bit in my own early ministry because of pressure from some church leaders, my old professor graciously pointed me back to "The Way."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a wise professor indeed! It was always presented as just one of many possibilities in my own experience and I wish someone had emphasized it earlier, but at least I discovered it eventually. You are right to specify not only preaching expositorily but doing so as you go through a whole book of the Bible rather than just expositorily doing a topical message. I often connect the two, but they are not mutually inclusive. Thanks for the great comments Dave!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rick, along with what you all are saying, in the AG, most pastors get the bare minimum for licensing so most AG pastors are not trained to do expositional preaching - sad I know but the reality nonetheless.

    so far I have gone through 1-3 John and part way through Philippians!

    -Brian

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with you Brian. What I see is a bare minimum standard for license to preach...which sadly may bear out in a bare minimum biblical content for preaching. That's great to hear you are preaching expositorily through the Scriptures! So far I've done Genesis (2x), Judges-2 Kings, Esther, Daniel, Ezekiel (doing right now), all the Minor Prophets, Mark, Luke, John (2nd time through now), Acts-2 Timothy, James, 1 John and Revelation (2x). I've, of course, preached significant portions on the other books, but never ALL the way systematically through. I've found that when I go back through I've discovered far more that I had missed the first go-round (this has been spread out over 11 years and preaching 3-5 times a week). I hope to some day be able to have preached every verse in this manner (but some books and material are notoriously more difficult than others). Blessings to you Brother!

    ReplyDelete

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. :-)