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preaching article John Piper: Preaching Is Expository Exultation

John Piper: Preaching Is Expository Exultation

based on 4 ratings
Nov 19, 2014

Preaching Is Expository

Expository means that preaching aims to exposit, or explain and apply, the meaning of the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible is God’s word, inspired, infallible, profitable—all 66 books of it.

The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people's lives.

The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God's word.

The aim of this exposition is to help you eat and digest biblical truth that will:

a. Make your spiritual bones more like steel,

b. Double the capacity of your spiritual lungs,

c. Make the eyes of your heart dazzled with the brightness of the glory of God,

d. Awaken the capacity of your soul for kinds of spiritual enjoyment you didn’t even know existed.

Preaching Is Exultation

Preaching is also exultation. This means that the preacher does not just explainwhat’s in the Bible, and the people do not simply try to understand what he explains. Rather, the preacher and the people exult over what is in the Bible as it is being explained and applied.

Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships—exults—over the word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My job is not simply to see truth and show it to you. (The devil could do that for his own devious reasons.) My job is to see the glory of the truth and to savor it and exult over it as I explain it to you and apply it for you. That’s one of the differences between a sermon and a lecture.

Preaching Isn't Church, but It Serves the Church

Preaching is not the totality of the church. And if all you have is preaching, you don’t have the church. A church is a body of people who minister to each other.

One of the purposes of preaching is to equip us for that and inspire us to love each other better.

But God has created the church so that she flourishes through preaching. That’s why Paul gave young pastor Timothy one of the most serious, exalted charges in all the Bible in 2 Timothy 4:1-2:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word.

What to Expect From My Preaching and Why

If you're used to a 20-minute, immediately practical, relaxed talk, you won't find that from what I've just described.

1. I preach twice that long

2. I do not aim to be immediately practical but eternally helpful

3. I am not relaxed

I stand vigilantly on the precipice of eternity, speaking to people who this week could go over the edge, whether they are ready to or not. I will be called to account for what I said there.

That's what I mean by preaching.



John Piper is founder and teacher of DesiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For over 30 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books, and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and an increasing number of grandchildren.

Talk about it...

Joseph Penrose avatar
Joseph Penrose
0 days ago
John, That's exactly how all of us should be. Why is it that that the 20 minute sermon is even discussed? You can't begin to detail God's word in that time span. Preaching is getting the Word out, not a living room discussion. It needs to be preached with authority and total passion. If there's no passion, you're preaching is dead. When a Pastor is reading the Word, you should be in a time capsule of excitement of the truth. That should lead you to that level of passion that we all need. If you have no passion, you shouldn't be preaching.
Jeff Glenn avatar
Jeff Glenn
0 days ago
Good words to heed!
Chris Hearn avatar
Chris Hearn
0 days ago
Joseph- I know this has been discussed recently on a different page, but why can't someone detail God's Word in 20 minutes? What if the focus is on one point?
Hans Manaka avatar
Hans Manaka
0 days ago
John, I like your approach to preaching
Olawepo Adeniji avatar
Olawepo Adeniji
0 days ago
I believe this piece answers some of the issues raised sometime ago about the reasons why congregations are no longer necessary in this age. Preaching of the word cannot be replaced or be done by just anybody, it is not motivational talk show. It is aimed at helping the Church to better understand and apply of the scripture for spiritual growth and fruitfulness for the purpose of growing us in our relationship with God and making us fit for eternity; hence it must not be with "wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that ... faith might not rest on man's wisdom, but on God's power" (1Cor.1:4-5). It is also not something to be done in a rush, however the length of time must depend on the topic and the assimilation level of the people. The book of Isaiah talks about line upon line and precept upon precept otherwise the purpose might be defeated. Thank you John.
Thomas Freeney avatar
Thomas Freeney
0 days ago
In my minister class we are required to do two 5 minute sermons, this is so we can stay on point. 20 min is enough time to do a sermon if you stay on point...
William Milam avatar
William Milam
0 days ago
In the context of a sermon about dedication to Worshipping God and hearing HIS Word that I HATE the clock. I hear the tired old excuses that people attention span is only this much or that much. I remember inviting a really gifted preacher to preach on Sanctity of Life Sunday. Before we knew it he had preached 55 minutes. ALL OF US in that service wanted more. I appreciate this reminder of my task as a preacher. It is a HOLY task given by God. Let's give it all our love and passion.
Chris Hearn avatar
Chris Hearn
0 days ago
It is a myth to think that the longer the sermon = the more holy the message or messenger is. I'm not saying that a sermon must be 20 minutes or less. And praise God for the 55 minute message you talked about and people still wanted more. Still, if one has 20 minutes, one can pray and prepare a message that is holy and powerful.

So, what did you think?


Thank you.