The Pattern of Biblical Preaching: An Expository Study of Ezra 7:10 and Nehemiah 8:1-18 -- By: Steven J. Lawson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 158:632 (Oct 2001)
Article: The Pattern of Biblical Preaching: An Expository Study of Ezra 7:10 and Nehemiah 8:1-18
Author: Steven J. Lawson

The Pattern of Biblical Preaching:
An Expository Study of Ezra 7:10
and Nehemiah 8:1-18

Steven J. Lawson

[Steven J. Lawson is Senior Pastor, Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama.

* This is article three in a four-part series, “A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching.”]

Walter Kaiser, a leading evangelical scholar, issued a simple but striking statement in his commencement address at Dallas Theological Seminary in April 2000. It was a stirring challenge that should grip the hearts of all who are called to the ministry of biblical preaching and teaching. Those who enter the pulpit to preach, Kaiser admonished, should always be pointing to a text of Scripture.

When a man preaches, he should never remove his finger from the Scriptures, Kaiser affirmed. If he is gesturing with his right hand, he should keep his left hand’s finger on the text. If he reverses hands for gesturing, then he should also reverse hands for holding his spot in the text. He should always be pointing to the Scriptures.1

This is sound advice. Both literally and figuratively, the preacher should always be pointing to a biblical text. This Word-centered focus in the pulpit is the defining mark of all true expositors. Those who preach and teach the Word are to be so deeply rooted and grounded in the Scriptures that they never depart from them, ever directing themselves as well as their listeners to its truths. Biblical preaching should be just that—biblical—and all who stand in the pulpit must show an unwavering, even relentless,

commitment to the Scripture itself. Much as a practicing physician knows and prescribes medicine, so every preacher should be ever studying, learning, and dispensing heavy doses of the healing balm of God’s Word to all his patients. Whatever the ailment, there is but one cure for the soul—the Word of God applied by the Spirit of God to the human heart.

But this biblical prescription is an unknown remedy for many preachers today. In their zeal to lead popular and successful ministries many are becoming less concerned with pointing to the biblical text. Their use of the Bible is much like the singing of the national anthem before a ballgame—something merely heard at the beginning, but never referenced again, a necessary preliminary that almost becomes an awkward intrusion to the real event. In their attempt to be contemporary and relevant, many pastors talk about the Scriptures, but, sadly, they rarely speak from them. Instead they rush headlong to the next personal illustration, humorous anecdo...

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