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I am absolutely convinced that expository preaching is the best way to approach the most sacred task of pastoral ministry. The best definition of expository preaching I have heard came from Mark Dever, “The point of the passage is the point of the message.” Since I started at Pembroke, I have done what my preaching professor, Hershael York, at SBTS said to do: I have made it my “bread and butter.” I have preached through books of the Bible section by section, sequentially and consistently.  I have sought to simply unfold God’s Word to God’s people in an understandable and applicable way.

Here are some reasons why I am convinced of this type of preaching.

1. Expository preaching lets God set the agenda. God wrote the Bible through men exactly like he intended to. When we approach the Bible with the intention of preaching through it in the order it was inspired (to men) and expired (by the Holy Spirit), we are more likely to take God’s Word on its own terms. I used to wish that the Bible was more like a theology textbook, with chapters and topics. It’s good I wasn’t in charge, because God wove a beautifully complex and elegant story exactly how he intended.

2. Expository preaching forces me to preach Christ and him crucified every week. Every part of the Scripture points to and centers ultimately on Jesus, and a sermon that does not get to Jesus and the Cross violates God’s Word. No matter the text, the sermon will get to Jesus and call sinners to him. It is the most consistently evangelistic kind of preaching there is.

3. Expository preaching forces me to address things I might not. For example, on Sunday I preached from Genesis 34, which is the story of Jacob’s daughter Dinah being raped and her brothers slaughtering an entire city in vengeance. Just straight up, I would probably never have preached that passage in my entire ministry if I wasn’t committed to preaching through Genesis. And I’m glad I did, because God has used that sermon in our church in amazing ways. There is power in every part of Scripture. Likewise, it also prevents me from riding my favorite hobby horse doctrinally, or from picking my sermon based on how the week has gone.

4. Expository preaching keeps me in context. It helps to prevent me from cherry picking verses and using them illegitimately. It does the same for the hearers. For example, when I preached on Jacob and Laban at Mizpah, and we got to 31:49, “The LORD watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight,” I explained that this is not a “friends are friends forever” verse, but actually a warning between Jacob and Laban. One of our members told me afterward that a previous church of hers actually spoke that verse to each other as a blessing at the end of every service. Expository preaching helps provide proper context to every verse of Scripture.

5. Expository preaching shows Pembroke Road Baptist Church that I want to base everything about my ministry directly on the Bible. Of course, I am about a zillion miles from perfect in this or any other area. But I hope and think that in the past three years I have shown my commitment to be a “man of the Word” above all else.

6. Expository preaching models how people should read their Bibles. I am not taking pot-shots, but how many people approach their Bible like topical preachers approach their sermons? Topical preaching might give the audience a fish for the day, but I believe in the long run expository preaching teaches the church to fish for a lifetime. It gives them insight into how to study God’s Word. It helps them see that it’s not a big mystery, and that they can understand the Bible.

7. Expository preaching makes sermon planning less time consuming. When I have to preach a topical message, I spend a ton of time just picking out a passage or topic. That time would be better spent in study, prayer, and application of the Bible to God’s people.

8. Expository preaching provides depth and not just breadth. It helps people know Jesus and his Word more deeply. It speaks not just to the lost, but to the found.

9. Expository preaching creates Bible-soaked preachers. I found gold recently. I discovered that I didn’t have to divorce my personal Bible reading from my sermon or study preparation! It has freed me to study the Bible for my own soul before I feed it to others. It helps me view the text as urgent for “me” and not just for “them.”

I could say more, but I’ll stop there. I have committed myself to preaching expositionally, and I have seen God do great things through his Word. What are your thoughts? Have you been exposed to this kind of preaching, and what are your thoughts?

My name is Danny Slavich. I am God's child, Laura's husband, Adalyn's daddy, Pembroke Road's pastor, and an adjunct professor.

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David Buffaloe

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Excellent article. Thank you!

Horace Wimpey

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Good article. Expository preaching is necessary but it doesn't have to be book by book. We are called to give the "sense" of God's word. We are to expose Gods word in it's meaning and application.

Jun Ang

commented on Apr 13, 2012

agree! we should be expository in our preaching but as Horace . has pointed out, it doesn't have to be book by book to be expository because we can go through the whole Bible till kingdom come and not expose it but use it to say something else. I believe we can do a topic - topical - and be expositional at the same time (systematic theology I believe would be an example). As the definition that you used from M. Dever goes - the point of the passage is the point of the message - it's simply that. I do agree that doing a book series is a good thing, this is what I'm also doing. Blessings.

Keith B

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Great article.

Scott Delashaw

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Great Article! Thanks for taking the time to give your reasons for preaching by exposition. It is true that we can preach through a section of scripture without covering an entire book. However, there is no better way to examine a section of scripture than in its context within a particular book. In the first 15 years of my preaching/pastoring ministry, I preached only topical messages. For the last 10 years I have tried to preach through a book in at least one of the weekly services. The other two services I reserve for different series, topical sermons, etc.. Wish I had learned the joy of going through a book sooner. I believe it makes us better preachers. Again, thanks Bro. Danny for sharing such practical, positive advice.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Apr 13, 2012

I believe preaching can be both expository and topical. For instance, we have three services a week, Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. I have preached through a book in the Bible many times on Wednesday evenings. But on Sunday mornings I preach topical sermons, such as the whole month before Easter I bring messages surrounding the many aspects of the cross and the resurrection. I do the same at Christmas time. Also between Mother's Day and Father's Day, I preach on marriage and family. So I believe both ways are good ways to preach.

Horacio Raúl Piccardo

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Excellent article. I agree with all. Most of the time I preach expositorily and I have found what he says. That's why I do it. I did it with 1st Corinthians (77 sermons), and on the way with Acts and Revelation.

Keith B

commented on Apr 13, 2012

wow...77 sermons on a book. I'm going to start in my first church next month. I am wondering what book to start with...I don't want to spend 15 months on Romans....so I'm thinking I'll go with Ephesians. Even that's going to take me the better part of 3 months, probably.

David Nuhfer

commented on Apr 13, 2012

An excellent article, but it never has had to be "either-or" when it comes to expositional vs. topical. I do a great deal of topical preaching and have discovered that, as I am preaching, God leads me to go deeper into a passage in a way that makes the application more meaningful. In fact, many of what I would call topical messages actually result from the expositional approach.

David Nuhfer

commented on Apr 13, 2012

An excellent article, but it never has had to be "either-or" when it comes to expositional vs. topical. I do a great deal of topical preaching and have discovered that, as I am preaching, God leads me to go deeper into a passage in a way that makes the application more meaningful. In fact, many of what I would call topical messages actually result from the expositional approach.

Joel Rutherford

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Your Comments

Jim Heckman

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Very good article...I tend to preach expository messages most of the year with topical messages at Easter and Christmas.

Maritess Galicha

commented on Apr 13, 2012

This article made me much more excited studying and preaching His message...thanks a lot and God bless you more...

Tony Cheng

commented on Apr 13, 2012

Thank you so much Rev Slavich for your article. This mean that Expository preaching is not boring. Praise the LORD who bring His good news to us!

Robert Sickler

commented on Apr 13, 2012

I agree with the power of expository preaching but find topical is sometime how I am moved by the spirit of God. I also am not sure I would agree with starting at Genesis and preaching straight through to Revelation. Would have to do a lot of abridging to finish before I died.

Theodore Payne

commented on Apr 14, 2012

Thanks for this article, I thought I was the only one that felt that way about expository preaching. very benificial!

Stan Roam

commented on Apr 14, 2012

Expository preaching is the best way to interpret, preach, and learn the Gospel, and I would love to do that, but my problem is motivational. The people do not appear to be motivated to action by exposition. What has worked best for me is to preach topically and expostorily on Sundays while verse by verse on Wednesdays. The combination has been very successful. But you are right, it takes much more work to accomplish both. Due to teaching Sunday school, New Converts, Men's Group, Wednesdays, and Sundays at the am and pm services I feel very very overwhelmed. How much do you pastors teach and preach in your churches?

Dennis Cocks

commented on Apr 15, 2012

Stan Roam, three times. Sunday morn, Sunday eve, Wednesday eve. Like you said, I will preach through a book on a Wednesday and topical on Sunday morn.

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