Why Preach Expository Sermons?

Today I am reading through Peter Adam’s book Speaking God’s Words, and I came across a section on why we need to preach expository messages. I would like to share with you what Adam’s says.

Reasons For Preaching Expository Messages:

(1) Expository sermons help us to let God set the agenda for our lives.

The danger of topical preaching is that it implies that we know what is important! Expository preaching lets God set the agenda in an obvious and public way.

(2) Expository preaching treats the Bible as God treated it, respecting the particular contexts, history and style of the human authors.

God chose to have the Bible written in books, each by a human author, and not as a collection of useful but disconnected sayings. We should follow God by preaching the way He wrote.

(3) This kind of preaching gives ample time for us to make clear the context of the Bible passage from which we are preaching.

If the Bible passage follows on from last week, the congregation will understand the context clearly. If I change the context each week, and include three or four Bible passages in my sermon, it will be very hard for the congregation to hear any text in context. This is not a model we should encourage. Expository preaching helps us to take each text in context, as God causes it be written.


Quoted from Peter Adam, Speaking God’s Words, 128.

Image: arkorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6 thoughts on “Why Preach Expository Sermons?

  1. While I agree about the importance of expository preaching, there are times when God leads to teach on a topic, I feel compelled to do it. I believe both are important methods of teaching the Bible, but it is usually it is about a 70/30 split in favor of the expository style of preaching.

  2. Pastor Tom,
    Thank you for your comment.

    I would agree that there are times we need to preach on different issues the congregation is facing, and would not argue that a pastor should not. I do believe that when one does preach to an issue, he should do it using a text of Scripture that deals with said issue. In that sense, he is preaching an expositional sermon – he is expositing the meaning from the text allowing it to drive the big idea of his sermon- but he is doing so on a more issue focused basis.

    For instance, if you happen to be preaching through one of the gospels and you notice your congregation is struggling with belief in worldly wisdom. You may take a break from the particular section you are teaching in the gospels and preach from the first couple chapters of 1 Corinthians. Or other passages that deal with the issue at hand.

    However, when jumping to another book, I do think that the full context of the passage should be preached. Pulling a verse here and there from two or three different books would not be considered expositional preaching and is not treating the text in a responsible way. We have to allow the original author to speak, and when we allow the text to drive our sermon, I believe we do just that.

    With that being said, my personal definition of expository preaching does not have as its basis that one must work through a book of the Bible, even though I think that is the best method. I believe one is expositing a portion of Scripture when they are allowing the text to drive their sermon. Since that is the case, I would probably prefer to say text-driven preaching rather than expositional preaching. I sometimes think expositional preaching is put in a corner where you are only doing it if you are preaching straight through a book. I don’t think that is true. I just believe you need to let the text drive the sermon in order for it to be expositional.

    When we start deriving the main idea from texts we are piecing together, we can easily get away from allowing the text to drive our sermon and from the original authors intent.

    Anyhow, I better stop there so I don’t turn this into another blog post.

    Thanks again for your comment. I am glad you read the post and interacted with it. Let me know what you think about my reply if you get a chance.


    1. This is true. We cannot ignore context. I do not believe in preaching a verse here and there. If context is lost we can make the Bible say anything.

      One famous example is this: The Bible says Judas hung himself (Matt 27:5), go and do thou likewise (Luke 10:37) and that which thou doest, do quickly (John 13:27). By taking these verses out of context we make the Bible say something it never said.

      So even when speaking on a topic, all verses must be kept in context, and the best way to do that is by preaching the whole passage in context.

      And BTW I still love teaching one book at a time verse by verse for the best understanding.

      Thanks for the excellent post and your thoughtful response.

  3. pastorjeffcma

    You are absolutely right (IMHO). With very few exceptions (and I do mean very few) preaching through books of the Bible is the preferable way of expositing the Scripture. The reason I say books is because when we draw a text from a specific book we often times lose the flow of the author. Since the three major elements of proper Bible study are 1) context 2) context and 3) context, it is vital that we (and thus our listeners) receive the larger picture. Thanks for a very important post.

    1. I would definitely agree with you that we need context. It is very important not only so that we understand the book better but so that our hearers become better readers of the text as we model that for them, as well as so that they know the Bible is one book that comprises one story. When we are always jumping from text to text the fact that the Bible is a cohesive whole is lost.

      Thank you for your comment. You are right on!

      Casey Lewis

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