Expository preaching is a form of preaching that focuses on explaining the biblical text to the audience during each sermon. Though an expository sermon can be topical, most expository preaching includes a week by week series through a specific book of the Bible to help listeners understand the text and how it applies to the lives of believers today.
Expository preaching includes a strong emphasis on understanding and explaining the original language, history, and culture involved in the particular biblical text each week. For example, a preacher's preparation will likely include study of key words in the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek original text, investigation of commentaries regarding the interpretation of the text, and the use of other tools to help provide background information important to understanding the situation of the original author and audience.
The reason or purpose for expository preaching is based on one's understanding of the Bible as God's inspired words. Second Timothy 3:16-17 teaches, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
Psalm 19:7-14 further emphasizes God's words as being perfect. Verse 7 notes, "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." If God's words are perfect, then they, rather than human stories or wisdom, should be the focus of the sermon.
The emphasis in expository preaching is God and His glory rather than human felt needs or preferences. Though Scripture clearly addresses the needs of people, the goal is to help hearers understand God's perspective of key issues and apply them to life. By teaching Scripture in its original context, expository preaching helps to remove the bias of choosing certain topics over others as well as avoiding difficult topics.
The goal in expository preaching is not whether the hearer likes the message or is entertained by it, but whether the text of Scripture has been accurately communicated for the understanding of the audience. God's Word is powerful when taught clearly: "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
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