Skip to main content

In defence of expository preaching

Peter Adam writes:

(1) Preaching through the books of the Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, respects and reflects God’s authorship. God did not gives us a book of quotable quotes, nor a dictionary of useful texts, nor an anthology of inspiring ideas. When God caused the Scriptures to be written the medium that he used was that of books of the Bible. If that was good enough for the author it should be good enough for the preacher.

(2)Expository Preaching reflects God’s respect for human authors. One of the most beautiful features of the Bible is the way in which God causes his truth to be written and yet does not over-ride the individual writer, but respects their place in history, their vocabulary, their spoken and literary style. If God is so careful to respect the human authors of the Scriptures we should endeavour to do the same by reading, studying, preaching and teaching their books in the order in the way in they wrote them.

Read the other thirteen reasons and more in Peter Adam - Arguing for Expository Preaching


  1. I don't like the implicit association of expository preaching with a linear preaching plan. Sometimes situations call for immediate and direct answers.

    I'm really very keen on exposition, less keen on modernism masquerading as theological scholarship. There just doesn't seem to be a hard and fast 'rule' or 'principle' for setting up a preaching / study plan.

    Sounds a bit black and white to me. Doesn't it to you. Either you do exposition and therefore preach through the bible in the order the books are or you don't take exposition serious. Well, I do take exposition very seriously and I do believe that there is value in chronological or biblically sequential preaching approaches, but I also read the bits of the gospels where Jesus deals with the specific issues that present, as well as the way he uses questions as ways to open up discussions and teaching opportunities.

    Irresponsible Evangelical

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    not so sure whats wrong with being linear... the bigger issue is respecting how God gave his word and the contexts in which he speaks - which is nothing to do with modernism or postmodernism... its just about reading the books...

    I'd rather respect the books and have to say - 'this isn't everything on this issue/topic' but it is what God says here about it... and gradually paint the picture of a fully-orbed Biblical worldview instead of saying 'this is everything about this thing' as a quick-fix... if God gives it this way then maybe we have to wait and take time...

    we can pursue this.... be nice to know who i'm talking to.

  3. Would rather stay Anonymous on this for now. Hope that's okay with you. Call me IE. :)

    I have no problem with linear, but the way he put it is quite coupled with exegesis so that it seems like it would be unbiblical now to do anything else now.

    And, I agree with the absolute importance of context. I'm not objecting to a) linear approaches b) context led work.

    My point is that he is doing exactly the thing that you should not do in exegesis. He is reading into the bible, the concerns he has, the culture he is in. That is a mistake. Then my other point is that there is no one way of structuring a preaching plan.

    Is that clearer?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…