10 Quotes on Preaching

“Expository preaching is the best method for displaying and conveying your conviction that the whole Bible is true… A careful expository sermon makes it easier for the hearers to recognize that the authority rest not in the speaker’s opinions or reasoning but in God, in his revelation through the text itself… Expository preaching enables God to set the agenda for your Christian community… Expository preaching lets the text set the agenda for the preacher as well… Exposition can prevent us from riding our personal hobbyhorses and pet issues… A steady diet of expository sermons also teaches your audience how to read their own Bibles”  (Timothy Keller, Preaching, 32-38).[1]

“Expository sermons help us let God set the agenda for our lives…. Secondly, expository preaching treats the Bible as God treated it, respecting particular contexts, history and style of the human authors” (Peter Adams, Speaking God’s Words: A Practical Theology of Preaching, 128).

“An expository sermon may be defined as a message whose structure and thought are derived from a biblical text, that covers the scope of the text, and that explains the features and context of the text in order to disclose the enduring principle for faithful thinking, living, and worship intended by the Spirit, who inspired the text” (Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, 31).

“An expository sermon or lesson is one that takes a minimum of a full paragraph (a scene in a narrative or a strophe in poetry) and allows the biblical text to supply both the shape and the content of the message or lesson of that text itself” (Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament, 49).

“Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applied to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through him to his hearers” (Haddon W. Robinson, Expository Preaching, 20).

“The nature of the sermon is to apply the word of God to the wills of the hearers with a view to moving them to want to conform to that word. Exegesis is an important aspect of the preparation of any sermon, but exegesis is not the sermon. Exegesis seeks to understand what the text means in its own immediate context. A sermon must move from the meaning of the text to the legitimate application of that meaning to our contemporary context in the light of the gospel” (Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 121).

“The explanation and application of the Word to the congregation of Christ in order to produce corporate perpetration for service, unity of faith, maturity, growth and upbuilding” (Peter Adams, Speaking God’s Words: A Practical Theology of Preaching, 71).

“Expository preaching is that mode of Christian preaching that takes as its central purpose the presentation and application of the text of the Bible. All other concerns are subordinated to the central task of presenting the biblical text. As the Word of God, the text of Scripture has the right to establish both the substance and the structure of the sermon. Genuine exposition takes place when the preacher sets forth the meaning and message of the biblical text and makes clear how the Word of God establishes the identity and worldview of the church as the people of God”   (R. Albert Mohler Jr., He is Not Silent: Preaching in a Post-Modern World, 65).

“To expound Scripture is to bring out of the text what is there and it expose it to view. The expositor pries open what appears to be closed, makes plain what is obscure, unravels what is knotted and unfolds what is tightly packed. The opposite of exposition is ‘imposition,’ which is to impose on the text what is not there. But the ‘text’ in question could be a verse, or a sentence, or even a single word. It could equally be a paragraph, or a chapter, or even a whole book. The size of the text is immaterial, so long as it is biblical. What matters is what we do with it. Whether long or short, our responsibility as expositors is to open it up in such a way that it speaks its message clearly, plainly, accurately, relevantly, without addition, subtraction or falsification” (John Stott, Between Two World, 125-26). 

Printing has become a mighty agency for good and for evil; and Christians should employ it, with the utmost diligence and in every possible way, for the spread of truth. But printing can never take the place of the living word. When a man who is apt in teaching, whose soul is on fire with the truth which he trusts saved him and hopes will save others, speaks to his fellow-men, face to face, eye to eye, and electric sympathies flash to and fro between him and his hearers, till they lift each other up, higher and higher, into the intensest thought, and the most impassioned emotion… there is a power to move men, to influence character, life, destiny, such as no printed page can possess” (John A. Broadus, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, 1).


[1] Keller, however, also says, “We must not try to define expository preaching too strictly” (Timothy Keller, Preaching, 42) and “There are… two basic forms of preaching: expository and topical… They must both be used” (30).

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