Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It is my goal today to continue the study on "The Need for Expository Preaching" in our churches today. Here is my working outline:

Expository Preaching has three purposes:

1. Exposing the congregation to the knowledge of God
2. Explaining the meaning of a text to know and understand the meaning of Scripture
3. Exhortation to the congregation leading them to obedience and to response

Yesterday I discussed the need for expository preaching because it exposes the congregation to the knowledge of God as revealed through the pages of inspired Scripture. Today I want to discuss the second definition of expository preaching:

2. Explaining the meaning of a text to know and understand the meaning of Scripture.

By this I simply mean that expository preaching is systematically working through a passage of Scripture - paragraph by paragraph, verse by verse, and even word by word - so as to gain a full understanding of the meaning of the text."

Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddox in their book, Power in the Pulpit, define an expository sermon as:

"A discourse that expounds a passage of Scripture, organizes it around a central theme and main divisions which issue forth from the given text, and then decisively applies its message to the listeners" (p.29).
I think this is very well crafted. They go on to note that: I think this is very well crafted. They go on to note that:
"The best preaching you can do is to go through books of the Bible - chapter by chapter and paragraph by paragraph - in a systematic fashion. Such an approach will ensure the keenest interpretation and the best use of context" (p.32).
Thus we see that expository preaching - at its core - explains the meaning of a text. This means that the sermon must consider the author, the recipients, the context, the culture, the theology, the biblical truths to be understood and the application to be applied. This is at the heart of every expository sermon. The sermon is to explain the meaning of the text to the recipient. If a sermon does not do this, then plain and simply, it is not expository preaching.

The question is then asked, "Well then why the need for expository preaching?" The answer is simple. Living in a generation where biblical literacy is at an all-time low in evangelical churches, we need to explain the meaning of the biblical text to our hearers. The only way to understand God and His glorious redemptive plan that He is unfolding is by understanding the pages of Scripture.

To understand Scripture is crucial. It is vital. It is life-changing. Listen to how some preachers have unfolded Scripture in the past:
Nehemiah 8:5-8 5 Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground...8 They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
Luke 24:27 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He [Jesus] explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Thus, let it be understood, at its core, the task of expository preaching is to explain the meaning of the biblical text (and apply it too!) to the listener.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, Geoffrey.

your wifey ;-) said...

Honey,

I am so glad that you are doing this series... what a blessing!!

Preach On!

Geoffrey R. Kirkland said...

I love you, babe! :=)

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