What is “Expository” Preaching?

In our Sunday services, you will notice that the sermons are “expository” in form.  This doesn’t mean that a sermon has to be long, but it does mean that a sermon has to be “complete” insofar as it faithfully unpacks and explains the essential truth of a given passage of scripture and how it applies to us.

Though many passages of scripture might be referenced, expository sermons are carefully focused on and rooted in just one passage of Scripture.  The structure, main idea, and application of the sermon all reflect the structure, main idea, and context of the passage.  To put it more plainly, it is preaching what the text says, verse-by-verse, while faithfully demonstrating how all of Scripture points to Christ (John 5:39).

Most often, our pastors work through entire books of the Bible at a time.  We believe that this type of preaching is faithful to the text because it commits the preacher to delivering the truth revealed in the passage, and it is also faithful to the church because it requires that the preacher specifically apply the passage to the congregation today.  A commitment to expository preaching is basically a commitment to do all that we can to hear what God has said in his word to his people in the past and what his word is saying to us now in the present.

We believe that expository preaching is important because the last thing we need is to just hear more of ourselves talk.

Through His Word, God has spoken . . . and that’s what we need to hear.

. . . for more on why we are committed to Expository preaching at Morningview, consider the these crucial benefits that Tony Merida, author of the book Faithful Preaching, notes for us:

  • Exposition is God-centered not man-centered. By starting with God’s Word instead of a popular idea or a perceived need, the preacher will expose the nature and truth of the Triune God to people—which is their greatest need.
  • Exposition gives authority to the message. Preachers that just try to be cutting-edge, or fill their sermons with endless stories, lose authority. The authority of the sermon is not in the suggestions, stories, or observations of the preacher.  Authority comes from God’s Word.
  • Exposition calls for attention to be given to biblical doctrine. One has to preach on every doctrinal issue if they preach the whole council of God. This keeps a pastor from only dealing with his favorite subjects, and it will give the hearers theological stability.
  • Exposition, done well, is good for both audiences: believers and non-believers. If one preaches the Scriptures in view of their redemptive history that culminates in Jesus, then the gospel will be integrated naturally into every sermon, thus confronting the unbeliever with his need for repentance and faith in Christ. On the other hand, exposition will grow the believers in the church and remind them that they do not work for grace but from grace and by grace.
  • Exposition magnifies Scripture. Preachers may claim to believe in the sufficiency of God’s Word, but if they do not take people very deep into the text, then they deny their belief in practice. You will show your people what you believe about the Bible by how you use it.
  • Exposition provides a wealth of material for preaching. By moving through the Scriptures, we avoid reductionism; that is, picking only the topics that seem important in the moment (marriage, money, honesty, etc).  By preaching through books, a wealth of material is covered and even the difficult passages are studied.  Such a holistic approach produces holistic Christians.
  • Exposition ensures the highest level of biblical knowledge for the congregation. By regularly expounding the Word of God, we train a group of people to know the Scriptures. Further, we not only remind them of who they are in Christ and how to glorify God, but we also train them to think Christianly.  (Rom 12:2)
  • Exposition teaches people how to study the Bible on their own. The old saying is true, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” By moving systematically through passages and books, we teach our people how to engage the text.  Expository preaching helps produce expository students and expository teachers.