Preaching – Topical or Expository?

I am reminded again this week of the power and necessity of expositional preaching. As I travel around and preach in Campmeetings and Bible conferences, I hear a lot of preaching. One thing I hear too little of is expositional preaching. Most preachers in these meetings tend to be topical in their treatment of the biblical text. They take a text and use it as a launching pad for their thoughts. Then they preach here and there from the Bible, stringing texts together like so many pearls on a necklace. Some of their messages are exciting and moving, Others are stale and even offensive. Sadly, most people tend to believe that this is true preaching. The preacher will shout, snort, and stomp around as he preaches through the thoughts he has strung together in his mind. However, when the sermon is finished, there is nothing of value to take away from the meeting. All we have are the ramblings of a man.

On the other hand, when a man open his Bible and does serious Bible exposition, he is giving the people meat that will nourish their souls along the way of life. The preacher who is faithful to do biblical exposition when he preaches may not get the “amens” the “hallelujahs” or the “glorys” that the topical preacher gets, but he is the true friend of the listener in the pew. He is making a serious attempt to feed the people of God. He is being faithful to the text. He is delievering the mind of the Holy Spirit. He is delivering the actual message God intended when He inspired that passage. He is speaking as the very “oracles” of God. Thank God for Bible expositors! Thank God for those who take the call to preach the Word seriously. Thank God for men who refuse to take the easy road of topical sermon preparation, and are willing to give themselves to the hard work of biblical exposition and exegesis.

One of the reasons the church lacks power and glory in our day is that she does not receive the right kind of nourishment from the Word of God. The church is anemic and weak becasue she is being fed a diet of man made thoughts and ideas. What she needs is a steady diet of expository preaching. That kind of preaching will make the church healthy, powerful, knowledgeable, and biblically literate. Preacher, the call to preach is a call to “preach the Word”, not your clever twist on the text. Let’s let the Word speak! Let’s give the people the very mind of the Spirit. Let’s determine in our hearts that we will never stoop so low as to preach anything other than what “thus saith the Lord”. Let us determine to be expositional in our preaching!

Just a thought, but it will work!

Alan

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3 comments on “Preaching – Topical or Expository?

  1. tsnyder1856 says:

    Excellent Post! It not only blessed me encourages me to stay at the task of digging into the text.
    Tommy Snyder
    First Baptist Church
    Chatsworth,Georgia

  2. revrhoward says:

    Thanks for the reminder preacher. I also appreciate BIBLE preaching. I go to some great meetings and some of them are hosted by very close friends like Charles Mustian, Tony Finney, and Bobby Leonard, but all of those meetings usually have several preachers that are good at getting the crowd pumped up but never say anything of spiritual value. I do preach a topical message once in a while, but I certainly prefer preaching verse by verse. Most Sunday night and Wednesday night messages are series preaching through a book. In fact, I appreciate your sermon notes for the very reason that you do preach verse by verse. That way I can use some of your thoughts and also read behind other great men on the same verses and then ask the Holy Ghost for what matters most – His thoughts!

    Thanks for the challenge to preach the Book!

    Randy Howard
    Community Baptist Church – Roxboro, NC

  3. Great point and also great messages. Thanks brother!

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