What is expositional preaching?
Simply stated, expositional preaching delivers sermons based on an approach to the Bible that asks, “What does this passage say?” The antithesis of the expository approach asks, “What can I say about this passage?”
Expository preaching presupposes that God communicates a specific message through each passage, book, testament, and the Bible as a whole. Those messages never change and faithful expositors will consistently reach the same conclusions for each passage (although the actual expression will be unique). Because God inspired the men writing the Bible, Scripture always stands above the preacher. The conscientious preacher understands that the authority of what he says rests solely on the careful unfolding of the text’s meaning.
One of the best descriptions of expositional preaching occurs in Nehemiah 8:8: “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly [with interpretation], and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” Ezra and Nehemiah record a time when God revived His people. God’s Word and obedient responses to that Word formed the core of revival.
The apostles carried on the standard of expositional preaching. Reading through Acts, each sermon preached involves a text from the Old Testament and an accurate explanation and application from that text or collection of texts. Furthermore, Paul exhorted his young intern Timothy to “preach the Word!”
Expository preaching forms the backbone of any healthy ministry. It communicates that God’s Word is far superior to any of man’s ideas. It nourishes believers by feeding them the milk and meat of Scripture. It causes growth by sowing the seed that alone bears the fruit of godly character. It arms Christ’s soldiers for victorious spiritual warfare. And it pierces deeply into the soul of man to bring conviction, healing, and restoration before God.
God’s Word, the Bible, is the final, complete revelation of God to man. Faithful exposition of that revelation must be the priority of every pastor-teacher. And it must be the priority of every believer to place themselves under that kind of ministry.