Mark Dever on Expositional Preaching – The 1st of 9 Marks of a Healthy Church

I am drawing close to the end of my longstanding series on preaching based on the Together For The Gospel Statement, Article 4. This does not mean, of course, that the subject of preaching will disappear from this blog—far from it. Since this is a blog by a preacher, and many of my readers are preachers, this topic is never far away and will keep returning. Indeed, in many ways the whole blog is relevant to the subject of preaching and living the Bible’s message.

As we get close to the end of this series, I could think of no better place to turn than the website of one of the four friends that make up the Together For the Gospel team. Mark Dever has written extensively on this subject under the heading, Mark One of a Healthy Church.

Everything you will find linked on that page is a resource that will help you learn more about preaching. I have read most of the books he recommends and listened to some of the audio, and I’m sure I will listen to more in the future.

I will share just a few quotes below, but encourage you to go over there and read the whole thing.


Expositional—a sermon which takes the point of the text as the point of the sermon . . . an exposition of Scripture simply seeks to uncover, explain, and apply the divinely intended meaning of the text.”

“. . . expositional preachers are modern day prophets, serving merely as conduits through which the Word of God may flow into the people of God in order to do the work of God in them.”

“Pastoral authority is directly related to Authorial intent. The preacher only has authority from God to speak as His ambassador as long as he remains faithful to convey the Divine Author’s intentions. This means that the further the preacher strays from preaching the intention of the text, the further his divine blessing and God-given authority are eroded in the pulpit.”

“Does a commitment to expositional preaching mean that I should never preach other kinds of sermons? No. Topical and biographical sermons still have value. It is sometimes helpful to address a certain topic by culling and presenting Biblical information. And it is sometimes instructive to study the life of a Biblical character and draw practical implications for today. The point is that, as a consistent diet, expositional preaching is most healthy for both the preacher and the congregation.”

“There are more ways to preach expositionally than plodding through one phrase or sentence at a time. The length of the text is immaterial to the question of whether or not the sermon is an exposition. As long as the point of the passage is used as the point of the message, a sermon qualifies as expositional—length notwithstanding.”

“The point of any Biblical text is to accomplish God’s purposes in the hearts and minds of God’s people. So if the sermon amounts to no more than a wordy commentary devoid of application, it has missed the bull’s eye at which true exposition always takes aim.”

“. . . we may legitimately preach a single expositional sermon on the whole Bible, a whole testament, a whole book, a whole narrative or parable, one paragraph, one phrase, or a single word—as long as we are preaching the intended point of the selected meaning unit.”

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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