Expository Preaching -- By: Merrill F. Unger

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:444 (Oct 1954)
Article: Expository Preaching
Author: Merrill F. Unger


Expository Preaching

Merrill F. Unger

[Editor’s Note: The following article by Dr. Unger is taken from his manuscript “Principles of Expository Preaching,” which is scheduled for publication in book form by Zondervan Publishing House in 1955. This article is printed by permission of the publisher.]

The greatest single need of the contemporary church is undoubtedly the strengthening of the local pulpit. This fact is not difficult to realize in the light of distressing present-day conditions in this phase of the Christian ministry and in view of the key place pastoral preaching holds in the carrying out of the divine program. The progress of God’s work depends primarily on the local church, and the local pastor has the most strategic position for weal or woe in this important activity. In no way can the individual pulpit be strengthened for its momentous task than by a diligent return to the Bible injunction: “Preach the Word.” The benefits of such a ministry are incalculable.

The Benefits of Expository Preaching

Expository Preaching Gives the Preacher Authority and Power. Holy Scripture as inspired of God, literally “God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16), possesses a potent quality when preached by one who believes what he preaches is in truth the “Word of God.” The authority and power which the inspired Oracles possess become manifest in the pulpit ministry of the faithful Bible expositor. He speaks, yet the thrilling fact is true, God at the same time speaks through Him. He is conscious of inadequacy, yet finds his task attended by divine authority. He is aware of weakness, but discovers the power of God operating in the Word

he preaches, which is “living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword…piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12).

The Apostle Paul’s experiences at Thessalonica furnish an inspiring example to every preacher how wonderfully effective a Bible-centered ministry can be. As a result of the faithful proclamation of God’s truth, the Apostle could say “our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance…and ye became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thess 1:5–6).

More than this the Apostle could say that as a result of the ministry of the Word the Thessalonian converts became exemplary believers, n...

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