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Archive for February, 2010

I made a decision last year to preach through the Gospel of Matthew verse-by-verse.  In preacher-talk this is known as expository preaching.  You take a book of the bible and go through it systematically and in order, much in the same way you would read a letter from a loved one (which is really what the bible is, after all).  This is different from topical preaching where you take an idea or theme, “forgiveness” for example, and jump around preaching from different places in the bible where “forgiveness” is dealt with.  In the worst case, preachers will preach on whatever they want and just cherry-pick verses to bolster their point with little regard for context or approriateness, but that’s hopefully not the norm.

I’m not going to say that there is only ONE way to preach, like a lot of guys do.  There is a place for both kinds of preaching and so long as the Word is faithfully examined I am happy.  Besides, even with expository preaching the preacher ends up looking at other sections of the bible where the topic of the passage is dealt with (this last week I preached on temptation and quoted verses from 1 Corinthians, James, 2 Corinthians, 1 Peter, Genesis and 1 Kings, for example).  However, I do think that expository preaching, for the most part, is the best way to preach the bible as far as getting across what God meant and being true to the context of the bible.  In addition, it helps keep preachers from just preaching what they think and using the bible as a proof text while ignoring things they don’t want to preach on (for example, next week I’m preaching on fasting, something I normally wouldn’t do).

In the last year I’ve really enjoyed going through the Book of Matthew in this way and have learned a lot from taking each verse in order to see what God is saying.  I just finished preaching through the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 and learned so much more about prayer and God’s heart than I would have in just preaching a series on “Prayer” and using the Lord’s Prayer as an illustration.  I’ve also had to deal with some hard subjects, like divorce and remarriage, that I might have just avoided if I were just preaching topical sermons.

Once again, I’m not criticizing topical preaching, but I do want to encourage preachers to consider expository preaching and for everyone to listen to great expository preachers like John McArthur, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll and John Piper (among others).  I think you will see that their preaching opens the bible in ways that you’ll enjoy.

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