Expository Preaching

Dr. Al Mohler, who serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, once wrote “If preaching is central to Christian worship, what kind of preaching are we talking about? The sheer weightlessness of much contemporary preaching is a severe indictment of our superficial Christianity. When the pulpit ministry lacks substance, the church is severed from the word of God, and its health and faithfulness are immediately diminished.”

We believe that there is a famine in the land when it comes to the faithful preaching of the Word of God. In Hosea 4:6 God gives the verdict resulting from this, He says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Preaching is an act of worship, and therefore preaching should be regulated by the Word of God. In contemporary Christianity preaching has been relegated to mere entertainment or moralistic therapy. These “preachers” perhaps will start by opening up their bible, reading a few verses or a passage, and then veer away from the text and its meaning as they use it merely to springboard off of it in order to go into a discourse of funny stories and illustrations, experiences from their lives, steps to help you make your life better, etc, while others; perhaps don’t even do this with the bible but with a Hollywood movie. Dr.Mohler describes this contemporary Christian culture as “anemic” and writes “The anemia of evangelical worship—all the music and energy aside—is directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching.”

So what is Expository Preaching?

In Nehemiah chapter 8 we see a great example of what Expository Preaching is. The people of Israel assemble together for the purpose of worship trough the hearing of the Word of God being preached. The priest Ezra then stands on a wooden platform that was made for the occasion and begins to read God’s Word and give it’s meaning, that is what preaching is. In verse 8 we read “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” That’s a layman’s terms definition of true preaching; they read the text, and they exposited the text. But then in the following verses you get the sense of where they added the third ingredient to the makeup of expository preaching; exhortation, they exhorted the people with the text; the people wept, the preachers explained why they shouldn’t weep, and encouraged them to rejoice. Those are the three main elements of expository preaching, read the text, explain the text, exhort with the text.

In Colossians 1:28 we see a good explanation for expository preaching. But what does the word expository mean first of all? Expository does not mean to expose, but rather exposit, meaning; to bring out of, to dig out the meaning from the text by the text. And so in expository preaching, preaching is the noun, and expository is the adjective. So in Colossians 1:28 we read “Him we proclaim” that being Christ, and meaning that all true preaching is Christ exalting preaching, all true preaching makes a beeline to Christ, so… Christ we proclaim, “…warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” The word proclaim here is the main verb and the words warning, teaching, and wisdom are all participles which in the Greek modify the main verb, which brings the main verb, proclaim, to the forefront. Now this word proclaim; it means to preach, and so here you very quickly see that it is different from teaching, in fact teaching is a part of preaching, but not all teaching is preaching. The word here for proclaim is the Greek word Kat-an-gelo, and the prefix Kata is used to intensify the word angelo. So it gives it a more intensified meaning, that being; to properly, exactly, and decisively announce; to herald (proclaim) a message in a definite binding way. Now, the teaching and wisdom aspects compose the expository aspect of expository preaching. So, we hold to the position that there is a difference between preaching & teaching, and all true Christian preaching should only be Expository Preaching; it begins with the scriptures, it explains the scriptures, it exhorts with the scriptures.

Dr. Steven Lawson, who is President and founder of OnePassion Ministries, a Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries, and Professor of Preaching and overseer of the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master’s Seminary, writes the following; “In these truth-starved days, we must be bold in our proclamation of God’s Word…The highest purpose of the preacher is to faithfully exposit Scripture to his hearers. Herein lies the power of God in His church. We must not look to trendy gimmicks, manipulative methods, or shallow entertainment, but [to] the proclamation of biblical truth.”

Expository preaching can be done in the form of a topical sermon, however, our preferred way of preaching is verse by verse through a book of the Bible. This type of preaching forces the preacher to preach the whole council of God (Acts 20:27) and not avoid any topics.

After 42 years of God blessed, fruitful ministry, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote his book Preaching and Preachers. In it, he unapologetically and emphatically made the following statement, Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote “I say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and most urgent need in the church, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also.” Here at CFC Oakwood we strive only to be faithful and biblical in our handling of God’s Word in our preaching, and we hold the preaching ministry of the church to be primary and central.