We can define an expository sermon as text-driven preaching, where we derive the sermon's main point and outline from the correct interpretation of the text of Scripture. The preacher arrives at the interpretation through careful exegesis using literal, historical, and grammatical methods. In preaching the text, the preacher carefully explains the God-intended meaning of the text giving its modern implications. — Pastor Brandon Phillips
What does it mean?
This definition yields several truths about expository preaching that we must remember. We believe:
- Expository preaching must have as its primary aim to read and explain the text of the Holy Scripture (Nehemiah 8:8).
- The only trustworthy source for specific knowledge and direction from God is the canon of Scripture—the 66 books of the Bible (Acts 20:27).
- The people of God need to hear the Word of God and have its meaning exposed so they know how to live in a worshipful way toward God (Psalm 19:7-14, 119)
- God has chosen to reveal Himself through His special revelation—the Word of God (Psalm 19:7-14)
- We completely rely on the Word of God; therefore, we trust entirely its power to transform (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The faithful preacher's primary work is to mine the text for its God-intended meaning using normal methods of interpretation, which we have defined as the historical, grammatical method of interpretation and exegesis.
Therefore, we demand our preachers and teachers to work diligently to accurately handle the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Since we understand that the Scriptures are the means through which God transforms our hearts, we believe that it is best to exegetically handle the Word of God. This conclusion means we are to draw God's intended meaning out of the text rather than reading our ideas and presuppositions into the text (eisegesis).
Therefore, we hold to a Literal, Grammatical, and Historical interpretation of Scripture. We believe that God intends us to understand His Word in that way. Therefore, we interpret:
- Literally - where the plain meaning is clear and understandable.
- Grammatically - we translate from the original languages using their unique grammatical construction to understand the text better and resolve any seeming lack of clarity.
- Historically - we seek to know the pertinent historical background and original recipients of the letter to help us more fully grasp the meaning and implications to that original audience.
Our goal with this method of interpretation is to reveal the mind of God to the hearer. And we teach verse-by-verse through the Scripture to expose the minds of God's people to the whole counsel of God.
In doing these things, the preacher must recognize that he is no more than a mouthpiece of God charged with exposing the text's true meaning to the listener. The goal of the preacher and expository preaching is to do these things trusting that God the Holy Spirit will use His Word to change the lives of God's people, making them more like their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that the Word of God will not return void (Isaiah 55:11), and the tangible evidence of discipleship is when the disciple continues in Christ's Word (John 8:31-32).