The method of expository preaching
Webster’s dictionary defines exposition as “a discourse to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand.” Applied to expository preaching, a preacher explains the meaning of Scripture, which may be difficult to understand.
Expository preaching is not a running commentary of Scripture. It is not a topical study of Bible texts loosely connected by a theme. It is not a message where a scripture is used as a launching point or gateway into whatever subject the preacher chooses to address.
Expository preaching focuses on a particular Scripture in light of its context. It contains a main proposition, an outline based on the text of Scripture, illustrations, and application of the meaning of the text.
Haddon Robinson defines expository preaching as:
“The presentation of biblical truth derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, Scripture guided study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit applies first to the life of the preacher and then through him to the congregation.”
The message clearly explains the original God intended meaning of His Word. Not what does this mean to you or me.
The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today
Expository preaching is represented in Nehemiah 8:8, where the prophet writes: “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”
To accomplish the desired result of understanding the meaning of Scripture, the expository preacher first begins with exegesis and ends with exposition. The term “exegesis” comes from exegete, which means to draw out from the text the truth that is in it. The opposite is “eisegesis” which means to put meaning into a text.
To illustrate this method, Nolan Howington describes the relationship between exegesis and exposition in the following manner: “The exegete is like the diver bringing up pearls from the ocean bed; an expositor is like the jeweler who arrays them in orderly fashion and in proper relation to each other.” (Rediscovering Expository Preaching, p. 17).