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TXD3602 expository preaching

TXD3602 Expository Preaching

The value of using expository preaching in today's society.

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Introduction

The feeding of God's flock is strongly emphasised in the New Testament by Jesus Himself according to John 21:15-17. George Batson states that Jesus first concern of God's flock is to feed them. Batson takes the word 'feed' used in v.15 and v.17 to state that the main duty of a pastor is spiritual nourishment.[1]

Haddon Robinson makes a point when he states that 'a power comes through the Word preached that even the inerrant written word cannot replace'. New Testament writers believed strongly that preaching stands as the result through which God works. 1 Peter 1:23, states that Peter explains to his readers that they are born anew because of the abiding Word of God. In 1 Peter 1:25, Peter explains that it is due to the fact that the Word was preached to them, which had redeemed them.

Feeding Gods flock is very important which needs to take place through preaching. God speaks through His Word to individuals. According to Robinson Expository preaching carries the force of divine authority in the best way for feedings God's flock.[2]

I will now firstly look at the definition of expository preaching and then secondly at its value in today's society by looking at the following main points:

  • Feeding Gods flock
  • Results for the listeners
  • Results for the preacher

1. Expository preaching

Wil Pounds gives an academic definition of expository preaching by explaining it in the following way:

The presentation of biblical truth, derived from a transmitted thought, a historical, grammatical, spirit-guided study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit applies first to the life of the preacher and then through him to his congregation.

Through expository preaching the Holy Spirit will lead the preacher to a passage of scripture. The passage will first be applied to the preachers live, and then he will apply it to the listeners.[3]

Walter Liefield states that expository preaching has application, 'and that application will not violate the purpose, meaning, or function of the text in its original setting'.

Expository preaching according to Liefield is most effective, but is not the only valid kind of sermon. Expository preaching is prepared in such a way that it is less prone to errors of facts or judgement, because it is taken in its own context resulting in being sure that is the declaration of God's truth.[4] Bryand Chapell states that the end result will be that the preacher and the people who listen will in the end be bound together to the only source of true spiritual change.[5]

2. Feeding God's flock

God's flock needs to be fed and mature. This clearly takes place through preaching, which is of utmost importance. According to Batson expository preaching is needed as there is no other kind of preaching that offers the amount of help for the nourishing of the soul as expository preaching.[6]

God's flock will receive a Biblical revelation of God and His will through expository preaching.[7]

2.1. Meeting the people's needs

Expository preaching first of all has great value when reaching the needs of people when the explanation of a passage speaks to their needs.

In the second place it directs the listener's attention to the Bible so that they will be equipped to meet there needs throughout the week and not only on a Sunday. This results in the people being fed and not impressed.

Expository preaching in the third place serves as a protection against the improper interpretation of scriptures.[8]

2.2. God's Word is presented the way it was written

Batson states that the Word of God was written 'in the context of the writers historical and cultural world' with a specific purpose. To explain what the writer meant would mean that the preacher would share in the writer's world, by understanding the cultural and historical framework of the writer and also understanding the flow of thought within the passage of the writer.[9]

Ray Stedman states that Expository sermons derive their content directly from Scripture itself and seeks to discover the intended divine meaning. The structure and thrust comes directly from a specific passage of scripture. [10] Bryan Chapell adds that 'the message gets its main points and its sub-points directly from the text.'[11] The same point is made as that of the scripture and is then applied with directness and urgency.[12]

According to Liefield the expository message is faithful to the text reproducing the significant elements of the passage as that of the original writer. 'It does not omit or distort any essentials of the message of the text, even to support true doctrines and good purposes'. The sermon does not use the text but rather serves it.[13]

By serving the text the preacher must have courage, because all the uncomfortable words of the scripture and the comfortable ones need to be explained. The preacher also needs to speak to all the difficult issues as well as the ones that enlighten and encourage us. When taking a whole passage, 'a whole book of the Bible or a major section of it, and you're preaching from that, you can't leave anything out. You have to cover it all'. When the preacher does this, the listeners can't accuse the preacher of choosing a text that is there pet project. This leads the listeners to see that what is preached on is something the scripture handles. Stedman states that this is a major value of expository preaching.[14]

2.3. More scriptural material is used

Expository preaching uses more scriptural material than other methods of preaching (textual preaching or topical preaching).[15] Charles Koller also adds that the resources are inexhaustible for expository preaching.[16] Expository preaching focuses on a passage of scripture of three or more consecutive verses. The flow of thought of a passage takes several sentences to develop.

Batson looks at Matthew 6:25-34, which is a good example of where 10 verses develop the flow of thought that a person should not worry. This entire passage would be used to develop the sermons main points, sub points and the application.[17] Liefield adds that the application coming from the passage will provide the direction on how the passage should be applied in life.[18]

According to Batson the expository sermon will not be developed by using a few verses from other passages and a few from the main selected passage. Batson points out an important point that expository preaching exposes the entire passage during the delivery and not only in the beginning of the sermon. The whole passage of scripture is the focal point, because it is kept before its listeners the entire time as it is explained and applied.

For maturing God's people Batson states that' nothing is better than systematic exposition of whole portions of God's word'. This helps to make preaching more Bible centred.

2.4. God's Word is explained in-depth

The soul according to Batson is fed abundantly when there is an in depth explanation of scripture. An in depth explanation will include the historical and cultural background of the passage and its context and its flow of thought. It will also include the unpacking of key Bible words which are full of meaning.[19]

3. Results for the listeners

When looking at results, Koller states that expository preaching will feed the souls of the listeners, which will prevent spiritual undernourishment. Once the listener is filled spiritually, they will be able to stand strong against all sorts of challenges and hardships in life.[20]

Expository preaching is clearly needed and plays a very important role in maturing God's flock. Expository preaching has great value when a person starts to see results.[21] According to Thomas results will come when the listener here's an expository sermon and then has the opportunity to compare their life to the standard that God sets in His word and then they can take the differences and change them to be in line with God's will.[22]

3.1. Knowledge of God's Word is given in-depth

God's word is used in expository preaching to give people an in depth knowledge by giving a detailed exposition, by using three and more verses, and by seeing that all the main points are from the same passage of scripture. By doing this people are brought into contact with every phrase or word which is very important and crucial to understanding the Word of God. When every area of God's Word is used that gives knowledge, then people will receive god's Word in its fullness.

Batson states that the knowledge a person receives from Gods Word through expository preaching transforms them and does not only inform them. A good example is in Colossians 3:10, which states that the believers have 'put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. The knowledge Paul speaks in this verse speaks of 'knowledge in its spiritual quality that belongs to the spiritual man and not mere intellectual knowledge that belongs to the natural man.[23]

3.2. Inspires study of the Bible

Carson states that people who sit under expository preaching are taught how to read there Bibles by properly thinking through a passage to enable them to understand it and apply it to their lives.[24]

Batson states that enthusiasm is created to study God's word at home and at church through expository preaching. Batson states that 'detailed exposition illuminates a person's soul, and illumination inspires further study of the bible'. People who are exposed to expository preaching will most likely become better students of God's word than those people who are not. People who sit and listen to expository preaching in the church will be better students in that time as they need to keep their Bibles open and follow the preacher. Leading people through a passage of scripture in church will inspire them to study the Bible during the service and not just listen to it. This type of exposition that inspires people in church will also inspire them to study the Bible at home. Batson concludes that Bible centred emphasis in the pulpit will stir a desire in people's hearts to study it at home.

3.3. Presents a wide range of sermon subjects

People in a congregation have a wide variety of needs according to Batson. There are many different types of needs and they need to be met. Expository preaching usually covers a wide variety of subjects. Batson gives two reasons:

  • Every passage that is used will control the sermon subject and tell what the subject will end up being.
  • Expository preaching is the best method to be used when preaching a series through a Bible book.[25]

Carson adds that expository preaching on the whole Bible will 'meet the need for relevance without letting the clamour for relevance dictate the message'.[26]

4. Results for the preacher

Expository preaching leaves great results with its listeners, but also with the person preparing the sermon.[27] Carson states that expository preaching gives the preacher confidence and also authorizes the sermon.[28] Bryan Chapell adds that the preachers confidence in the Word of God helps them preach with gentlness and force and still speak with authority.[29]

4.1. Authority is added in preaching

'Standing behind preaching is the authority of the Bible, and the Bible is the authority of God Himself. It is God's Word, "God breathed", inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16)'. The Bible has absolute authority, because it is God's Word. When people bow to the authority of the Bible, they in actual fact are bowing before God Himself. 'The Bible alone is the final word in all matters of faith and conduct'. [30]

liefield states that the preacher will be much more confident when preaching God's will, when preaching from His Word doing an expository sermon.[31] 'Any systematic exposition through a passage sounds out the Bibles authority, "Thus says the Lord". During expository preaching this sound stays with people'. People listen to all the crucial points that are required to understand the passage. 'A passage rings out with God's authority as if God Himself were speaking the message of His Word'. There is a great ideal of authority added to preaching when there is a detailed exposition taking place.[32] The statement and its affect of 'Thus says the Lord' are stated by Haddon Robinson to work against the anti-authoritarian spirit of society.[33]

4.2. Being confined to Biblical truth

Preachers are very much confined to the Biblical truth, which minimizes subjectivism. Preachers can face there listeners with much boldness when knowing that there sermon is a vehicle for God's true Word.

Expository preaching helps the preacher 'proclaim the "whole council of God" rather than ride their favourite "hobby horses".[34] Carson agrees with Batson and says that the preacher will know that he is proclaiming God's truth, when he is confined and faithful to God's Word.[35]

4.3. Including touchy subjects

The preacher can include touchy subjects without being obstructive during sequential exposition. There are certain sensitive subjects that need to be dealt with in a congregation, which makes it challenging for the pastor to preach on. This type of challenge is decreased when these type of subjects are made part of 'the context that has been reached in the normal course of an expository series. When dealing with these subjects during a series, the preacher will have a much broader base to work with.[36]

4.5. Bible knowledge is increased

The preacher is expected by people to be a master of Bible knowledge, which means that he would be an expert in what he does. When the preacher starts to do in depth studying of the Word of God, then he starts to receive in depth knowledge of the Word. Batson states that this type of in depth knowledge does not come from studying God's word for only a few hours.

Expository preaching will force a preacher to do in depth research of a passage of scripture. When doing this the preacher will do much research on crucial keys words and phrases to understand passages of scripture. When preparing an expository sermon the preacher will ask the following questions according to Batson, on the passage being studied:

  • 'What is happening around it?
  • What is the central idea?
  • What great truths (verses) develop this central idea?

These questions take the preacher deep into the meaning of the passages being studied. By doing this type of preparation, the preacher will increase his Bible knowledge.[37]

Conclusion

It is very clear when looking at John 21:15-17 to see the importance of feeding God's flock and how important spiritual nourishment is.[38] Liefield says that expository preaching fits this important task perfectly. He states that it is the most effective method of preaching. The reason for this is that expository sermons are taken in its own context, which clearly states the truth of God.[39]

The great value of expository sermons is that they benefit the listeners and the preachers. The listeners are fed spiritually, and they are inspired to study God's Word in church and at home. Listeners will receive a good knowledge of God's word from an in depth study through expository preaching, which leads to receiving God's Word in its fullness.[40] When receiving God's word in its fullness, the listeners will have their needs met as expository preaching covers a wide range of subjects.[41]

For the preacher there is authority added in preaching an expository sermon and there results in an increase in the preachers confidence. Through this the preacher can proclaim the whole council of God and not go of track.[42]

The preacher will also increase his Bible knowledge from preparing an expository sermon, because of it in depth study.[43] The great value for the preacher is that he will first apply the expository sermon to his life then preach it to his listeners. Expository preaching has great value as it feeds God's flock.

Bibliography

Batson, G., Expository Preaching: Methodology for a powerful pulpit (Missouri: Global University, 2 edn., 2000)

Chapell, B., 'The truth about expository preaching', Preaching today's sermons .com (2006), <http://www.preachingtodaysermons.com/trutabexprea.html> [Accessed 14/08/2009]

Chapell, B., Christ centered preaching: Redeeming the expository sermon (Michigan: Baker books, 1994)

Koller, C.W., Expository preaching without notes (Michigan: Baker Book House,1962)

Liefield, W., New Testament exposition (Michigan: Zondervan publishing house, 1984)

Pounds, W., 'The Biblical preacher's workshop', Expository preaching (2005), <http://www.asermon.com/sermonworkshop/expositorypreaching.html> [Accessed 18/08/2009]

Robinson, H., and C.B., Larson (eds.), The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators (Michigan: Zondervan, 2005)

Robinson, H.W., Biblical Preaching: The development and delivery of expository preaching (Michigan: Baker book house, 1980)

Stedman, R.C., 'The preparation of expository sermons', Powerful expository preaching, part 2 (Palo Alto: Discovery Publishing, 1982), <http://www.raystedman.org/expository/0043.html> [Accessed 15/08/2009]

Stedman, R.C., 'The primacy of preaching' (Palo Alto: Discovery Publishing, 2004) <http://ldolphin.org/expospreach.html> [Accessed 14/08/2009]

Thomas, C., 'The exceptional value of expository preaching', 2009 <http://sermons.logos.com/submissions/105255#content=/submissions/105255> [Accessed 14/08/09]

[1] G. Batson, Expository Preaching: Methodology for a powerful pulpit (Missouri: Global University, 2 edn., 2000), p. 36.

[2] H.W. Robinson, Biblical Preaching: The development and delivery of expository preaching (Michigan: Baker book house, 1980), pp. 18-19.

[3] W. Pounds, 'The Biblical preacher's workshop', Expository preaching (2005), <http://www.asermon.com/sermonworkshop/expositorypreaching.html> [Accessed 18/08/2009].

[4] W. Liefield, New Testament exposition (Michigan: Zondervan publishing house, 1984), p. 7.

[5] B. Chapell, Christ centered preaching: Redeeming the expository sermon (Michigan: Baker books, 1994), p. 22.

[6] Batson, Expository Preaching, pp. 36-38.

[7] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 7.

[8] Liefield, New Testament exposition, pp. 8-9.

[9] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 38.

[10] R.C. Stedman, 'The primacy of preaching' (Palo Alto: Discovery Publishing, 2004) <http://ldolphin.org/expospreach.html> [Accessed 14/08/2009].

[11] B. Chapell, 'The truth about expository preaching', Preaching today's sermons .com (2006), <http://www.preachingtodaysermons.com/trutabexprea.html> [Accessed 14/08/2009].

[12] Stedman, 'The primacy of preaching'.

[13] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 6.

[14] R.C. Stedman, 'The preparation of expository sermons', Powerful expository preaching, part 2 (Palo Alto: Discovery Publishing, 1982), <http://www.raystedman.org/expository/0043.html> [Accessed 15/08/2009].

[15] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 39.

[16] C.W. Koller, Expository preaching without notes (Michigan: Baker Book House,1962), p. 31.

[17] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 39.

[18] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 11.

[19] Batson, Expository Preaching, pp. 39-40.

[20] Koller, Expository preaching without notes, pp. 28-29.

[21] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 41.

[22] C. Thomas, 'The exceptional value of expository preaching', 2009 <http://sermons.logos.com/submissions/105255#content=/submissions/105255> [Accessed 14/08/09]

[23] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 41.

[24] H. Robinson, and C.B. Larson (eds.), The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators (Michigan: Zondervan, 2005), p. 404.

[25] Batson, Expository Preaching, pp. 41-44.

[26] Robinson, The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators, p. 404.

[27] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 41.

[28] Robinson, The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators, p. 404.

[29] Chapell, Christ centered preaching, p. 89.

[30] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 44.

[31] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 10.

[32] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 44.

[33] Robinson, The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators, p. 23.

[34] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 10.

[35] Robinson, The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators, p. 404.

[36] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 12.

[37] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 45.

[38] G. Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 36.

[39] W. Liefield, New Testament exposition (Michigan: Zondervan publishing house, 1984), p. 7.

[40] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 41.

[41] Robinson, The art and craft of biblical preaching: A comprehensive resource for today's communicators, p. 404.

[42] Liefield, New Testament exposition, p. 10.

[43] Batson, Expository Preaching, p. 45.


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