Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

The following are some thoughts and quotes with regard to Expository Preaching, some of which I typically share with preaching students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here's a video clip from John Piper on the Power of Scripture and Doctrine to start us off. (HT Benji)

A couple of quick definitions/descriptions:

York (SBTS prof) & Decker, Preaching with Bold Assurance
"Expository preaching is defined not by a style nor by a particular methodology, but by the end result of explaining and applying the meaning of the text. Expository preaching is any kind of preaching that shows people the meaning of a biblical text and leads them to apply it to their lives."

Robinson, Biblical Preaching
"Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to his hearers."

Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching
"Biblical preaching moves from doctrinal exposition to life instruction."

"A grammar lesson is not a sermon. A sermon is not a textual summary, a systematics discourse, or a history lecture. Mere lectures are pre-sermons because they dispense information without relevant application that focuses listeners on their obligations to Christ and his ministry to them." (which he credits to Jay Adams in Preaching with Purpose)

"present the Word; explain what it says; and exhort based on what it means. This is expository preaching."

J. I . Packer, "Why Preach?"
“The purpose of preaching is not to stir people to action while bypassing their minds, so that they never see what reason God gives them for doing what the preacher requires of them (that is manipulation); nor is the purpose to stock people’s minds with truth, no matter how vital and clear, which then lies fallow and does not become the seedbed and source of changed lives (that is academicism).”

Al Mohler, (See "Expository Preaching and the Recovery of Christian Worship," Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3)
"Expository preaching is that mode of Christian preaching that takes as its central purpose the presentation and application of the text of the Bible. All other issues and concerns are subordinated to the central task of presenting the biblical text. As the word of God, the text of Scripture has the right to establish both the substance and the structure of the sermon. Genuine exposition takes place when the preacher sets forth the meaning and message of the biblical text and makes clear how the word of God establishes the identity and worldview of the church as the people of God."

"Expository preaching begins with the preacher's determination to present and explain the text of the Bible to his congregation. This simple starting point is a major issue of division in contemporary homiletics for many preachers assume that they must begin with a human problem or question and then work backward to the biblical text. On the contrary, expository preaching begins with the text and works from the text to apply its truth to the lives of believers. If this determination and commitment are not clear at the outset, something other than expository preaching will result."

"Authentic expository preaching is marked by three distinct marks or characteristics: authority, reverence, and centrality. Expository preaching is authoritative because it stands upon the very authority of the Bible as the word of God. Such preaching requires and reinforces a sense of reverent expectation on the part of God's people. Finally, expository preaching demands the central place in Christian worship and is respected as the event through which the living God speaks to his people."

John Stott, Between Two Worlds
"We should be praying that God will raise up a new generation of Christian communicators who are determined to bridge the chasm; who struggle to relate God’s unchanging Word to our ever-changing world; who refuse to sacrifice truth to relevance or relevance to truth; but who resolve instead in equal measure to be faithful to Scripture and pertinent to today."

"What did the original author intend his words to mean? That was the question. Moreover it is a question which can with patience be answered, and answered confidently…the biblical authors were honest men, not deceivers and their writings intended to be understood.”

Gunny's Sine qua non of Expository Preaching
"Expository preaching presents the intended meaning of the biblical author/Author in a manner that is relevant to the contemporary listener."

If our goal in all preaching (& teaching) is life change to the glory of God (and I can't see how it's not), then our listeners should leave knowing what the text meant in the original context, what the text means for the contemporary audience, and how the text should be applied in their little world. They should be motivated to that end through our exhortation and should be expected to do it (reliant on the Spirit, of course).

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At 28 November, 2007 17:57, Blogger Oilcan said...

Dead Poets Society

Carpe Diem!

At 28 November, 2007 21:09, Anonymous Chris Brauns said...


Which reminds me of my doctoral thesis - - while pastoral search committees may say they want great preaching - - few know what they mean by it & there are essentially no resources available to equip them to have an agreed upon target. . .

Here is where I tried to lay out a simple sermon evaluation form.

At 28 November, 2007 21:16, Blogger M. Jay Bennett said...

That is good!

Thanks Gun.

At 28 November, 2007 22:06, Anonymous Mark T. said...

I like Gunny's preaching.

At 29 November, 2007 07:14, Blogger Lance said...

Good stuff. Thanks for the reminders.

At 29 November, 2007 10:26, Blogger Timothy said...

Hi Gunny,
Good post. I got to experience some bad preaching while on vacation. One pastor simply used the verse to jump off into his sermon about how we are to be thankful. There was nothing about the text. The other sermon, by a woman, was more grounded in the text, but was not real preaching. It was more of a Bible study from the pulpit.

At 29 November, 2007 16:23, Blogger GUNNY said...

Great stuff at that link and I appreciate the Keith Wilhite quotage. He was my first preaching professor and a fine brother. He was surely missed at DTS, but his illness, interestingly enough, was what led to my getting a chance to teach which then led to my getting to teach preaching at SWBTS.

If I can figure out a good way to share it, I'll share the sermon evaluation form I have the students use at SWBTS for peer evaluations.

Mark T,

Thanks for the kind words. You still preaching without notes? I still find that impressive and too scary for me.

Jay the Bennett,
Looking sharp, brother.


A few years back I endured one of the biggest beatings ever as far as sitting through a "sermon." Thanks be to God it was only 10 minutes and some change. (Yeah, I timed it.)

There had been a video drama earlier in the service to show a guy bumbling around trying to do tasks for which he was not qualified/equipped (e.g., making a cake, fixing stuff around the house, etc.). The gist was that he needed to do what he was good at.

The woman who preached then told us about how we need to be who God made us. There was no Scripture used, but it was more of an encouraging pep talk.

To this day I'm not sure if I was more distracted by the lack of Scripture, the fact that it was a woman (asst.) pastor preaching, or that she was wearing clothes that were clearly 2-3 sizes too small.

In short, it was not a good experience.

In fairness, that may be how the church rolls homiletically and she may have never been trained, but I remember thinking that the past round of student sermons I had listened to at SWBTS were not that bad after all.


At 29 November, 2007 17:05, Blogger Timothy said...

I cringe when I think of the sermons I heard in preaching class at DTS. Yikes!

The sad reality is that the woman "preacher" was better than the Baptist pastor! She was more Scripturally sound, in a Methodist church mind you! I was saddened.


At 30 November, 2007 08:10, Blogger Timothy said...

BTW, I used the video in my post this morning and gave you the credit. Thanks for sharing it with us.

At 01 December, 2007 09:44, Anonymous Mark T. said...

I cringe when I think of most of the sermons I preached my first several years in ministry. I do preach without notes.

At 03 December, 2007 02:03, Blogger Jes said...


I loved your closing comment...that's why I love studying with Precept Ministries, and leading others in Precept studies.

Observation of the Text
flows into
Interpretation from the Holy Spirit
which flows into
Application for our daily lives.

I grew up in a cult in Texas, and the entire focus of the cult was "Bible Doctrine in your soul"...there was NEVER any discussion of application.

So, we were all just growing up as heady little Bible scholars with no ability whatsoever to impact the world around us for Christ.

I watched a great video this morning with my family, and the teacher was explaining the significance of the memorial stones that the people of the nation of Israel would erect in Old Testament times after God had moved in a mighty way on their behalf.

He boiled it down into application for us, and quoted Paul from the New Testament, and explained that God wants us to be memorial stones in our generation. That our LIVES are to be those living stones, so that when others see us, and ask us why we are what we are, we can tell them what God has done for us, and He will be glorified by them, hopefully.

I found your site via Denny's after you commented on my Charlie Brown Christmas post.

I love it, and will be back often.

By the way, if you wouldn't mind, would you be willing to pray that if it's God's will, my family and I will have the opportunity to move to Texas soon?

We live in AZ, in a small town drenched in seeker churches that have abandoned God's Word for The Message, and are more focused on being culturally relevant than they are on teaching God's Word in Spirit and in Truth.

My soul is starving for good Bible teaching. Yes, I lead Precept studies, but man, oh man, would I love for my family and I to be in a Bible teaching church back in my home state!

Thanks for your's an encouragement to a parched soul!

Blessings to you and yours,

At 03 December, 2007 03:23, Blogger GUNNY said...


Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

This is a quote I shared in a previous post (You've got the using kind of religion, not just the meeting house kind.) dealing with right theology producing right action:

"A hypocrite knows more than he is willing to do; but a true saint desires to do what he knows, and to know more that he may do more, and better." - Puritan Vavasor Powell

It still does a little something for me even after all these years.

Back to the Lone Star State, eh?

It might be presumptive to say, but my gut tells me, "Of course it's God's will for you to come back to Texas."


Still, I can certainly understand having an affection for a place and wanting to serve God in that context.

It's just tough that things like that may happen through His providence in His timing and manner.

Lord willing, it will happen for you sooner rather than later as God continues to guide your steps.

Incidentally, you mentioned the stones of remembrance and such ... I preached a sermon this morning on the Lord's Supper and the theme or remembrance started in the Passover that is realized in a profound way in Christ who has His last supper with His disciples and is remembered for us in the Lord's Supper.

If you have the time, I'd be curious as to your thoughts along those lines, particularly the applicational aspects of the sermon.

I won't be tender if you don't care to check it out, but if you do, go to the sermons page and get (12/2/2007).

If you're ever in the Dallas area, please drop in and pay us a visit.

At 12 December, 2007 01:17, Blogger GUNNY said...

In another post I was asked what texts I required in my preaching classes. The answer seems appropriate to share here as well.

Introduction to Expository Preaching:
*Begg, Alistair. Preaching for God's Glory
*Chapell, Bryan. Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon OR Robinson, Haddon W. Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages
*Kistler, Don, ed. Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching
*Gibson, Scott M., ed. Preaching to a Shifting Culture OR Johnston, Graham. Preaching to a Postmodern World

Advanced Expository Preaching:
*Augustine. On Christian Teaching
*Carson, D. A. Exegetical Fallacies
*Fasol, Al. A Complete Guide to Sermon Delivery
*Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching & Teaching
*Mathewson, Steven D. Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative

Some suggested titles:
*Greidanus, Sidney. Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method
*Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament
*Lloyd-Jones, Martyn. Preaching and Preachers
*Stott, John R. W. Between Two Worlds


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