Excerpt from Rediscovering Expository Preaching, by John MacArthur

Excerpt from Rediscovering Expository Preaching, by John MacArthur

While certainly not a wholehearted endorsement of MacArthur’s theological system, I want to highlight some of his great statements regarding the practice of Biblical expositional preaching:

In summary, the following minimal elements identify expository preaching:

1.   The message finds its sole source in Scripture.

2.   The message is extracted from Scripture through careful exegesis.

3.   The message preparation correctly interprets Scripture in its normal sense and its

4.   The message clearly explains the original God-intended meaning of Scripture.

5.   The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today.[1]

Greer Boyce has aptly summarized this definition of expository preaching:

In short, expository preaching demands that, by careful analysis of each text within its immediate context and the setting of the book to which it belongs, the full power of modern exegetical and theological scholarship be  brought to bear upon our treatment of the Bible. The objective is not that the preacher may parade all this scholarship in the pulpit. Rather, it is that the preacher may speak faithfully out of solid knowledge of his text, and mount the pulpit steps as, at least, “a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

The preacher’s final step is the most crucial and most perilous of all. It is to relate the biblical message both faithfully and relevantly to modern life. At this point all his skill as a craftsman must come into play. We must be warned that faithful exposition of a text does not of itself produce an effective sermon. We need also to be  warned, however, that faithfulness to the text is not to be sacrificed for the sake of what we
presume to be relevancy. This sacrifice too many modern preachers seem willing to make, producing, as a result, sermons that are a compound of moralistic advice, their own unauthoritative and sometimes unwise opinions, and the latest psychology. Expository preaching, by insisting that the message of the sermon
coincide with the theme of the text, calls the preacher back to his true task: the proclamation of the Word of God in and through the Bible.[2]

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Rediscovering expository
(12–13). Dallas: Word Pub.

[2] Ibid, 13–14


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