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Preach the Word

A Seminar on Expository Preaching

preach the word

Preach the Word

The Legacy of Expository Preaching


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; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The Apostle Paul

2 Tim. 4:1-5 (ESV)

i the primacy of expository preaching
I. The Primacy of Expository Preaching

“The work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called.” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

“The supreme work of the Christian minister is the work of preaching. This is a day in which one of our great perils is that of doing a thousand little things to the neglect of the one thing, which is preaching.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

1 expository preaching demanded
(1) Expository Preaching Demanded

“Preach the word” = Herald, proclaim the word (of God, the God-breathed Scriptures which are “profitable for teaching, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” 2 Tim 3:16-17).

2 expository preaching distinguished
(2) Expository Preaching Distinguished
  • Topical Preaching
  • Textual Preaching
  • Expository Preaching
“No matter what the length of the portion explained may be, if it is handled in such a way that its real and essential meaning as it existed in the mind of the particular Biblical writer and as it exists in the light of the overall context of Scripture is made plain and applied to the present-day needs of the hearers, it may be properly said to be expository preaching . . . . It is emphatically not preaching about the Bible, but preaching the Bible. ‘What saith the Lord’ is the alpha and the omega of expository preaching. It begins in the Bible and ends in the Bible and all that intervenes springs from the Bible. In other words, expository preaching is Bible-centered preaching.”(Merrill F. Unger)
example of a topical sermon
Example of a Topical Sermon

“Understanding the Atonement”

I. An Overview of Different Views of the Atonement

(1) The Ransom Theory

(2) The Moral Influence Theory

(3) The Governmental Theory

(4) Orthodox View: Penal Substitution

II. Four Aspects of the Atonement

(1) Sacrifice

(2) Propitiation

(3) Reconciliation

(4) Redemption

III. Summary of Orthodox Understanding of the Atonement

example of a textual sermon
Example of a Textual Sermon

“Behold the Lamb of God”

John 1:29, 26

I. He is a Spotless Lamb

II. He was a Silent Lamb

III. He was a Suffering Lamb

IV. He was a Substitutionary Lamb

V. He was a Satisfactory Lamb

VI. He is the Supreme Lamb

example of an expository sermon
Example of an Expository Sermon

“The Word-centered Life”

Psalm 1

Main Proposition: We should become learners and lovers of God’s Word.

I. We should become learners and lovers of God’s Word because God’s Word will Make Us Holy – v. 1

II. We should become learners and lovers of God’s Word because God’s Word will Make Us Happy – v. 1-2

III. We should become learners and lovers of God’s Word because God’s Word will Make Us Healthy – v. 3-4

IV. We should become learners and lovers of God’s Word because God’s Word will Make Us Heavenly – v. 5-6

3 expository preaching defined
(3) Expository Preaching Defined

“It is my contention that all true Christian preaching is expository preaching. Of course if by an ‘expository’ sermon is meant verse-by-verse explanation of a lengthy passage of Scripture, then indeed it is only one possible way of preaching, but that would be a misuse of the word. Properly speaking, ‘exposition’ has a much broader meaning. It refers to the content of the sermon (biblical truth) rather than its style (a running commentary). To expound Scripture is to bring out of the text what is there and expose it to view.

The expositor prizes open what appears to be closed, makes plain what is obscure, unravels what is knotted and unfolds what is tightly packed. The opposite of exposition is ‘imposition’, which is to impose on the text what is not there. But the ‘text’ in question could be a verse, or a sentence, or even a single word. It could equally be a paragraph, or a chapter, or a whole book. The size of the text is immaterial, so long as it is biblical. What matters is what we do with it.
Whether it is long or short, our responsibility as expositors is to open it up in such a way that it speaks its message clearly, plainly, accurately, relevantly, without addition, subtraction, or falsification. In expository preaching the biblical text is neither a conventional introduction to a sermon on a largely different theme, nor a convenient peg on which to hang a ragbag of miscellaneous thoughts, but a master which dictates and controls what is said.” (John R. W. Stott)
“Scripture determines what expositors preach because they unfold what it says. The meaning of the passage is the message of the sermon.The text governs the preacher.” (Bryan Chapell)
ii the history of expository preaching
II. The History of Expository Preaching
  • The Prophets

Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc.

Neh. 8:6, 8 (ESV)

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground . . . They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

The Prophets

Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ – Luke 24:25-27
Luke 24:25-27 (ESV)

And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! [26] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" [27] And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

The Prophets

Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc.

(2) The Lord Jesus Christ – Luke 24:25-27

(3) The Apostles and Early Church

Peter, Stephen, Paul, Timothy, Etc.

Acts 17:2-3 (ESV)

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, [3] explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”

(4) The Patristic and Medieval Eras

John Chrysostom (“Golden Mouth” c. 347-407)

Augustine (354-430)

John Wyclif (1330-1384)

William Tyndale (1494-1536)

“There is not anything in the Scriptures which can be considered unimportant. There is not a single sentence of which does not deserve to be meditated on; for it is not the word of man, but of the Holy Spirit, and the least syllable of it contains a hidden treasure.” (John Chysostom)
(5) The Reformers

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

John Calvin (1509-1564)

John Knox (1513-1572)

“Let us then consider it certain and conclusively established that the soul can do without all things except the Word of God, and that where this is not there is no help for the soul in anything else whatsoever. But if it has the Word it is rich and lacks nothing, since the Word is the Word of life, of truth, of light, of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of joy, of liberty, of wisdom, of power, of grace, of glory, and of every blessing beyond our power to estimate.” (Martin Luther)
“Their whole task is limited to the ministry of God’s Word, their whole wisdom to the knowledge of his Word: their whole eloquence to its proclamation.” (John Calvin)

“Whenever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard . . . it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.” (John Calvin)

“Let us not take it into our heads . . . to seek out God anywhere else than in his Sacred Word, or to think anything about him that is not prompted by his Word, or to speak anything that is not taken from that Word.” (John Calvin)
(6) The Puritans

William Perkins (1558-1602)

Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680)

John Owen (1616-1683)

Thomas Manton (1620-1677)

Stephen Charnock (1628-1680)

John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

the art of prophesying
The Art of Prophesying

(1) Reading the text clearly from the canonical Scriptures.

(2) Explaining the meaning of it, once it has been read, in light of the Scriptures themselves.

(3) Gathering a few profitable points of doctrine from the natural sense of the passage.

(4) Applying the doctrines thus explained to the life and practice of the congregation in straightforward, plain speech (William Perkins)

7 giants of the 18 th and 19 th centuries
(7) Giants of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Charles Simeon (1759-1836)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Alexander MacLaren (1825-1910)

8 giants of the 20 th and 21 st centuries
(8) Giants of the 20th and 21st Centuries

G Campbell Morgan (1863-1945)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)

James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000)

John R. W. Stott (1921 - )

John F. MacArthur (1939 - )

Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, [2] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

iii the certainties of expository preaching38
III. The Certainties of Expository Preaching

(1) God Has Spoken

(2) God Has Spoken in His Word

  • Incarnate Word
  • Written Word
2 Tim. 3:16-17 (ESV)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

iii the certainties of expository preaching40
III. The Certainties of Expository Preaching

(1) God Has Spoken

(2) God Has Spoken in His Word

  • Incarnate Word
  • Written Word

(3) When the Word of God Speaks, God Speaks

“1. God gave His true Word to be communicated entirely as He gave it, that is, the whole counsel of God is to be preached (Matt. 28:20; Acts 5:20; 20:27). Correspondingly, every portion of the Word of God needs to be considered in the light of its whole.

2. God gave His true Word to be communicated exactly as He gave it. It is to be dispensed precisely as it was delivered, without altering the message.

3. Only the exegetical process that yields expository proclamation will accomplish propositions 1 and 2.” (John MacArthur)
preparing expository sermons the scripture sculpture method ramesh richard
Preparing Expository Sermons: The “Scripture Sculpture” Method (Ramesh Richard)

7. Preach the Sermon – The “Flesh” of the Sermon

6. Structure the Sermon – The “Skeleton” of the Sermon

5. The Central Proposition of the Sermon – The “Heart” of the Sermon

4. The Purpose Bridge – The “Brain” of the Sermon

3. The Central Proposition of the Text – The “Heart” of the Text

2. Structure the Text – The “Skeleton” of the Text

1. Study the Text – The “Flesh” of the Text


Nothing is more necessary to the health and holiness of the Church than expository preaching. Expository preaching stands in the noble history of prophets and apostles, and the great men of God throughout history who, with their words and by their lives, unwaveringly expressed and embodied the word of God. They were convinced that when the Scripture speaks, God speaks. Expository preaching is the mandate of God. Its demise is the malady of men. The meaning of the passage must be the message of the sermon. Nothing is more important than expository preaching.