I am listening to some popular “expository” preachers on iTunes today. I have been listening to some lessons from Hebrews and 1 Peter. But, to my disappointment, these lessons are not expository preaching. People think it is expository, but it is actually topical preaching.
Expository preaching takes the whole of the text, perhaps a paragraph or two, and speaks the main message of that paragraph. Expository preaching does point out other interesting points and themes within the paragraph. But expository preaching stays with the main text and does not run to other scriptures. Expository preaching is preaching the text in its context with the point of the sermon being the same message intended by the author of the scriptures.
I am listening to preachers who read the paragraph, but preach on three words from one verse. The next lesson preaches on one sentence from the paragraph, and so on. This is topical preaching. For example, to preach a lesson on divine election in our lives from 1 Peter 1:1-12 is not expository preaching. It is a topical sermon, using 1 Peter 1 as the basis of the sermon. Then the preacher runs to other scriptures to show election in other texts. Topical, not expository preaching, because Peter’s main point as he begins to write his first letter is not election.
Now, if you want to preach on election, go ahead. Just don’t call it expository preaching. You are doing topical sermons in the order of the topics revealed in a particular text. If you want to preach topical sermons, go ahead. There is an important place for topical lessons. Just don’t call it expository preaching. Just because a text is used does not make a sermon expository. Every sermon should and must be based on the scriptures. Expository preaching seeks to find the point of the paragraph, reveals that point, explains that point, and applies that point to the audience.
I wish we would see more true expository preaching done right.
Just had to get that off my chest….