Some use the category “expository preaching” for all preaching that is faithful to Scripture. I distinguish expository preaching from topical preaching, textual preaching, and others, for the expository sermon must be controlled by a Scripture text or texts. Expository preaching emerges directly and demonstrably from a passage or passages of Scripture.
There are a number of reasons why expository preaching deserves to be our primary method of proclamation.
When we preach, we want those listening to us to learn and apply God’s Word to their lives. In order to accomplish this objective with adults, we would be wise to include narrative sermons from the narrative portions of Scripture in our preaching repertoire. How can we preachers ensure that the narrative sermons we preach reach their potential?
Expository preaching involves the exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of the Scripture; that is, expository preaching presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable. The word exposition is related to the word expose — the expository preacher’s goal is simply to expose the meaning of the Bible, verse by verse.
The word exposition is from the Latin, expositio, meaning “a setting forth, narration, or display.” As applied to preaching, the word has come to mean the setting forth or explanation of the message of the biblical text. In expository preaching the sermon is designed to communicate what the text says, including its meaning for the contemporary audience.
Here are seven qualities of authentic expository preaching gleaned from definitions of various writers through the generations.