One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve been thinking and reading about preaching recently is that we can’t seem to agree on what “expository preaching” actually is. This is critical for our understanding of Article 4 of the Together for the Gospel Statement, which has prompted this series on preaching. Some seem to feel that true expository preaching only occurs when a book is dissected verse-by-verse, week-after-week.
The folks over at Expository Thoughts have a clear preference for preaching through a book, and, indeed, list in the same post what they feel are the advantages of this preference. They are, I think, quite correct when they suggest that there are three different types of expository preaching:
“First, [a preacher] can select a different passage every week, with each passage having little or no relationship to the previous one. In this way, each passage would be handled in an expository fashion, but there would be no deliberate flow or cohesiveness from one week to the next. For example, he might preach Ephesians 5:22-24 the first week, Psalm 119:9-16 the second week, Mark 10:13-16 the third week, and so on. You might call this random exposition.
Second, he can select a group of passages, each of which deal with the same topic or theme, and then preach them week after week until the series is completed. For example, he could do a series on having a biblical view of God’s Word by preaching Psalm 19:7-11 the first week, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 the second week, 1 Peter 2:1-3 the third week, etc., until he is ready to move on to the next series. You could call this thematic exposition.
There is a third approach, however, which I believe is the best option for the preacher who is in the pulpit on a regular basis, and that is consecutive exposition. Put simply, consecutive exposition consists of preaching verse-by-verse through entire books of the Bible.”
The series on the Together for the Gospel Statement continues with “Must Expository Preaching Always be a Series Preaching Through a Book?”