Biblical Exegesis And Exposition -- By: Chester McCalley

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 06:4 (Oct 2000)
Article: Biblical Exegesis And Exposition
Author: Chester McCalley

Biblical Exegesis And Exposition1

Chester McCalley*

[*Editor's note: The late Chester McCalley was the pastor of Beth Haven Church in Kansas City for 40 years. He was on the National Board of Advisors of Chafer Theological Seminary, a frequent Bible conference speaker, and author of many publications and tapes, which are still available. For further information, please contact [email protected], or call (800) 326–4414.]


What is the relationship between exegesis and exposition? What is Bible exposition or expository preaching?

This article gives a method for moving from exegesis to expository preaching. Think of a tower with several spigots: high, medium, and low. Exegesis is at the top; exposition is at the bottom. The exegete deals with Greek and Hebrew syntax, hermeneutics, theological arguments, and so forth. Exegesis (the high spigot) discovers the text’s meaning. The pulpit is for teaching our congregations. A high spigot spills our exegetical work before the congregation. The medium or low ones permit teaching to flow from a level more comprehensible for the flock. The objective is to Communicate, not to drown anyone with our depth.

A pastor should start with exegesis of the text, before seeking to communicate and illustrate it. One cannot communicate Bible exposition clearly and accurately without first discovering what the text means. A pastor must know the passage's exegetical truth, but should communicate that in expository words. Exegetical study uses the high spigot, exposition opens a lower spigot. When pastors do not understand this—I speak as one who has made this mistake, and it is a mistake—they make a premature assessment: “I taught twenty people for six months, giving them good stuff! Now, we are down to two, proving how negative people are to doctrine.” Are there people who are negative to Bible doctrine? Certainly, but pastors ought to go back to a

checklist and ask, “Does my study move from exegesis down to expository teaching?” If not, we pastors certainly bear the blame. The pastor is responsible both for teaching the nine-year old and his parents, is he not? Yes, indeed, a shepherd cares for lambs, not just adult sheep.

Exegesis: Exposition's Foundation

Upon what does expository teaching rest? The foundation of exposition is exegesis, but what does that word mean? It is the process of determining the meaning of a text of Scripture, the word of God.

It is important to understand “determining the meaning.” Many simply advocate reading the Bible and blindly asking, “How d...

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