Ed Stetzer’s reflections on Expository Preaching

How do the preachers at your church approach preaching?

Part I – Stetzer (writer at Christianity Today) gives his reasons for expository preaching


I preach through books of the Bible not because that method is mandated or modeled in the Bible, but instead because of what the Bible is. Because the Bible is the Word of God without error and inspired throughout, it requires us to treat the words, phrases, and sentences accordingly. Thus, the Bible is best taught using an approach to preaching that explains what God has inspired, looking at the words and phrases in the process.
Because the Bible’s inspiration is word-for-word, the words of the Bible should set the agenda for the message taught or preached in a gathered worship service. In other words, this message should largely be the explanation of the inspired Word of God in the order and in the format that the Holy Spirit inspired the authors to write.
Thus, the preferred form of preaching is that which is driven by the text and where the text sets the agenda.

Part II – Stetzer gives his “on the other hand”


However, in a journal article detailing the history of expositional preaching, they bemoan the fact that expository preaching does not become the norm until long after the New Testament. Allegorical, topical and other methods dominate preaching—generally speaking—until John Chrysostom began using a method we would recognize as expository.
Chrysostom’s preaching was marked by a new skill set, including for example, the diagramming and breaking down of sentences. Such a grammatical approach was new in his time and is not present in in the majority of the world today. This type of preaching requires a literary sense and a knowledge of verbs, nouns and sentence structures.
Jesus didn’t go through verse-by-verse exposition on the road to Emmaus.
I admire Chrysostom’s preaching; that isn’t the issue. His model should be held up as a standard. It is the model we use in my church. But I find it difficult to say something is a biblically mandated form when it is not found explicitly in the New Testament or even in the early church.

As you might figure, the materials we have here at CCCS are in the same approach as expository preaching – let the text set the agenda. Of course, that isn’t the only way to do things but we think it is a good method.

What do you think?


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