Preaching Articles

There are all kinds of different  sermons a preacher can preach:  Doctrinal, evangelistic, topical, and several other kinds of sermons that are not bad in themselves and have their place.  But that does not change my deep conviction that the best way to preach God’s word faithfully and accurately is to preach expository sermons.  That does not change the most helpful steady diet for a pastor to feed his people with the word of God week after week is expository sermons.

For those unfamiliar with this kind of sermon, an expository sermon is a sermon that flows and is built completely upon a text, not an idea or topic.  I explained it this way.  Imagine a stack of building blocks where the bottom foundational block is a text of Scripture (not a topic) and all the other blocks are built upon that one block.  There are many reasons I am convinced expository sermons, specifically through whole books of the Bible, are the best, most helpful, and most faithful way for a pastor to feed his people regularly.  But here are a few reasons that seem to keep coming up through discussions with pastors unfamiliar with this approach to preaching.

1)  Expository sermons affirm the authority, power, and sufficiency of Scripture.

2)  Expository sermons help our people know how to read their Bibles as intended.

3)  Expository sermons help keep a pastor focused on preaching God’s words verses human words.

If you are a pastor, do not ignore my urging for you to preach expository sermons as the regular, steady diet to feed your people with the word of God.  The word of God gives life to a church, but we must regularly and faithfully give it to them for the seeds of the word to fall on good soil and bear fruit.  I am convinced expository preaching is the best way to sow those seeds.

Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children—son Samuel and daughters Abby, Isabelle, and Claire.  He has served in pastoral ministry for 15 years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church.  He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University, receiving his B.A. in Sociology.  He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Bruce Johnson

commented on May 19, 2017

Brian, I have nothing against expository preaching but I think you're confusing form with goal. There is no one best way to preach a sermon. There are great churches that never preach an expository sermon (and produce great Christ followers) and others that do so exclusively (and produce great Christ followers). The goal is to present people complete in Christ. I've heard plenty of expository sermons that were actually unbiblical and topical sermons or narrative sermons that were incredibly biblical. Somehow Jesus and Paul did okay and never preached an expository sermon, as did church leaders for the first 1800 plus years before expository preaching became in vogue. Several years ago, just as a personal challenge for myself, I preached an entire message on the Bible without using a bible verse to see if anyone would notice. No one did and it was a very biblical message. It's not the form that matters, but the content that can shape and change people's hearts and lives that matters. So, nothing against expository preaching. It's a great form of preaching but why use one arrow in your quiver when you have so many others that are waiting for you to pick up and use? You might be surprised at how much better your people respond when you change up your form of preaching and select the best form for the passage or topic at hand. This isn't an either/or question. It's a both/and.

Mike Brenneman

commented on May 21, 2017

Bruce, so true that a change of form helps keep a freshness to our preaching. My concern for the lesson you gave without a Bible verse, is: You asked your people to take your word for something, instead of confirming your message with God's word. We are not the source of truth, so that's seems like a dangerous precendent to set. Just this week I told someone, "Never put your soul in my hands." I do appreciate your thoughts and your intent to shape and change people's hearts.

Dr Robert Ballard

commented on May 20, 2017

Bruce, I must point out to you we do not have all of Jesus' nor Paul's sermons recorded. It is quite possible they preached expository sermons. It is also likely expository preaching was one style used by many preachers prior to giving it a name. This article points out the need to "Preach the Word." Often a good way of doing so is by taking a passage of scripture and teach/preach it. Of course all sermons/teachings must be Bible based and seek to Glorify Jesus all the time. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry.

Jun Ang

commented on May 20, 2017

yes all preachers must preach expository sermons. but a sermon that's expository doesn't necessarily mean verse by verse. one can go verse by verse and yet not be expositing the word and one can go topical yet still be expositing the word - it's a must! If this were the case, then one must not do systematic theology because it is topical. Verse by verse or topical are both preaching styles not the system. How can one preach without an idea (theme, point)? Even a running commentary, which is often confused with expository preaching, must have a "topic" behind it. Piper, Macarthur, Sproul, Keller, Spurgeon, Lloyd jones, and other expositors don't do verse by verse all the time. So, does it mean they are not preaching right? This article, although must be said - preachers must do expository preaching, is comparing apples (topical, verse by verse) and oranges (exposition). Let's stop confusing the two because it's unnecessary and unhelpful. The opposite of exposition is distortion, not topical.

Tony Toth

commented on May 20, 2017

"The opposite of exposition is distortion, not topical." Brilliantly said Jun Ang. The 'style' should always be expositional, but style will always flow out of giftedness and calling. I have seen teachers, preachers and evangelist pastor churches. i have seen all three deliver God's Word in unique styles.

Mike Brenneman

commented on May 21, 2017

Brian,I strongly agree. All 3 of your points are validated by my experience. Someone taught me about expository lessons in my fourth year of preaching and it became my favorite, but not exclusive, style for 30 years now. 1. In my opinion both the preacher and the listener gain more from it than topical. Retention is usually better and they now “own” the passage and know what that section of scripture means. How many folks remember the main points of a topical sermon after 2 weeks pass by? How many listeners are able to share what they learned with a friend unless they have the notes from a topical lesson. 2. Our people learn how to approach the scriptures in a valid way (lacking today?) and they learn the concept and value of context. Pastors do less violence to the context using this method. Example: I’ve heard many sermons that refer to Isaiah 14, stating Lucifer (KJV) is the devil. I’ve never heard anyone mention that God says this passage is about the King of Babylon. (verse 4) An expository sermon would lead a responsible teacher to that point. My only suggestion for your article would be to develop your 3 points more thoroughly and I believe you would have received less resistance. Expository preaching has been such a blessing to me and has greatly improved my understanding and preaching of God’s Word. Thank you for your acticle, Brian.

Augusta Wallace

commented on Oct 19, 2023

I'm just the acting assoc pastor. But i want to get better. can u give me an example of what one looks like?

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