Must Expository Preaching Always Be Book Studies? Some Alternatives -- By: Irvin A. Busenitz

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 02:2 (Fall 1991)
Article: Must Expository Preaching Always Be Book Studies? Some Alternatives
Author: Irvin A. Busenitz

Must Expository Preaching Always Be Book Studies?
Some Alternatives

Irvin A. Busenitz

Professor of Old Testament
The Master’s Seminary

To be truly biblical, preaching can and should be expository, even if it is thematic, theological, historical, or biographical. Expository sermons of these types must be thoroughly biblical, not only in their foundation but in their superstructure as well. The effectiveness of the messenger and the power of the message depend upon a close attention to the Word presented with grammatical, historical, literary, and conbackgrdal accuracy. For these special kinds of expository messages, certain guidelines must prevail, and many tools are available to assist the research process, but there are no shortcuts. The path to powerful preaching inevitably demands diligence in the Word.

* * * * *

Just as preaching that is verse-by-verse is not necessarily expository, so also preaching that is not verse-by-verse is not necessarily non-expository. It is granted that some topical approaches are not expository, but such need not be and certainly should not be the case. No book deals with topics that directly impact daily life more than the Bible. Thus, to be effective, all topical preaching and teaching, whether the topic be thematic, theological, historical, or biographical, must be consumed with expounding the Word.

Jesus expounded the Scriptures powerfully (Mark 1:22), but not always verse by verse. As an expositor, He sometimes spoke topically, using many different OT Scriptures as the basis of His teaching. Sometimes He touched on a specific theme or aspect of theology, such as the nature of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13), divorce (Matthew 19), or how to pray (Matthew 6; Luke 11). At other times He employed a historical event (Luke 13:4ff) or character (Matt 12:41ff). Yet He always used the Word as the foundation and as the building blocks of His instruction. On the basis of Jesus’ example, it can be unequivocally asserted that all truly biblical preaching is also expository and is not necessarily restricted to a verse-by-verse format.

It can take alternative forms, too.

Topical preaching has many benefits. First, used at the end of one book study and before starting another, it provides variety. The change from one type of presentation to another often contribu...

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