Friday, June 19, 2015

Why 'Verse-by-Verse' Expository Preaching?

Their was a season fifteen or so years ago when preaching through books of the Bible, verse-by-verse and chapter by chapter, was quite trendy.  We all know how much American Evangelicalism loves trends so naturally lots of churches started doing this (at least many attempted to do this).  I recently checked out a number of church websites in our community and realized that those days are long gone.  Expository preaching is no longer en vogue.   So why am I so committed to this "not so popular" (passé) method of teaching?

A missionary friend of mine (Jonathan Moorehead) provided a very helpful explanation this week as to why sequential exposition is the preferred method of preaching for most TMS graduates.  This is not to say that faithful Bible exposition demands Lectio Continua but many of us are convinced that it is the safest way of insuring that the authorial intent of each passage is declared in every sermon. Mark Dever rightly describes Bible exposition as “Preaching that takes for the point of a sermon the point of a particular passage of Scripture.  

Why does accuracy and authorial intent matter? 2 Timothy 2:15 reminds us that those "workmen" who "rightly divide the Word of truth" have no need to be "ashamed" as they preach the Word of God in season and out (2 Timothy 3:15-4:5).  To twist or distort the true meaning of holy Scripture is no small thing even when it is done intentionally. See for example my sermon, "Faulty Interpretation. Wrong Applications. Serious Problems."

"15 Reasons for Consecutive Expository Preaching:

(1) It involves the natural way of reading a book, which is also the way that the Bible was written;

(2) it allows God to be the primary speaker, and not man;

(3) it confronts the hearer with the living and active Word with which the Spirit is always actively working;

(4) it allows for preaching of the whole counsel of God, which involves all aspects of theology;

(5) it prevents the preacher from only preaching his favorite topics;

(6) it forces the preacher to cover difficult texts;

(7) it protects the preacher from being accused of preaching on certain texts, or against certain persons, for personal reasons;

(8) it aids preachers in not spiritualizing or taking verses out of their contexts;

(9) it promotes proper Bible reading by giving attention to context, the main point of the passage, and application;

(10) it produces a mature congregation with the highest level of biblical literacy because they feed on milk and meat, as the text dictates;

(11) it is most conducive to answering people’s counseling problems;

(12) it allows for God to providentially set the agenda;

(13) it saves time and prevents stress since you don’t have to worry about what you are going to preach the next Sunday;

(14) it evidences the preacher’s conviction that all Scripture is inspired and profitable, not just the parts that the preacher prefers;

(15) it gives derived authority to the preacher since he is speaking from the living and active Scriptures instead of his own wisdom."