We believe that expository preaching is the best way to preach “the whole counsel of God”. What is expository preaching and how is it different from the preaching typically heard in most churches today? Expository preaching is a contextual verse by verse examination and explanation of Scripture in order that those who hear might make correct application of the Word of God to their lives.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” You’ll notice in these two verses it is stated that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable …” God did not say that some Scripture is inspired and therefore some is profitable, neither did He say most is inspired and therefore most is profitable. No, He said, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable …”
These verses list four uses/advantages of Scripture. The Greek word translated profitable communicates not only the use of Scripture, but the advantages of Scripture as well. Scripture is both profitable and useful. It is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; each of which describes the work of God’s Word in a person’s life.
Furthermore, and understood from the phrase “inspired by God” is that all Scripture (the sixty-six books of the Bible) has God as its author. Consequently, God, Who is the all-knowing Creator, is absolutely aware of what it is that every believer needs in order to be equipped. God makes it clear from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that it is through all of Scripture that He has purposed to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness the believer, so that he or she may be completely prepared for every good work.
Unlike many contemporary methods of preaching/teaching, such as topical, story telling, and relaying of current events, expository preaching is a contextual verse by verse explanation of Scripture. Contemporary styles, many of which don’t even use the Bible, are often hit and miss at best as they jump around from one text to another. This approach generally ignores the contextual meaning of a passage and many times ends up using a Biblical passage to prove a pre-conceived point. By examining Scripture one verse at a time, in both its immediate context and the context of the whole of the Word of God, expositional teaching/preaching systematically gleans Scripture’s truth so that God’s people are thoroughly equipped for the work of the ministry to the praise of God’s own glory.
Also in contrast to various contemporary methods, expositional preaching honors the timelessness and the timeliness of God’s Word. Like God Himself, His Word is not subject to cultural changes, trends, or time. God alone has the unique ability to provide a written Word that is more than sufficient for all time and all people, regardless of the events that transpire within a certain timeframe. Notice that there is no time or cultural stamp mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. They do not mention that God’s Word fails to be profitable after a certain time or outside of a particular place or culture. The verses do not say Scripture is profitable only for Timothy or only to those believers at Ephesus where Timothy was ministering (1 Timothy 1:3). Likewise, Timothy was not instructed to preach the Word only as long as the culture remained the same. On the contrary, he was instructed to preach the Word continually and be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
Elsewhere in Scripture, God actually says His Word is living and powerful.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13 NASB)
God’s Word is alive! It is not only alive to a certain group of people living in one place during one period of time. The nature of God’s Word is that it is always living, powerful, and effective, without regard to people, place, or time. As verse 13 states, Scripture was given by God, before Whose eyes all things are laid bare. Nothing, including cultural changes, trends, places, or time, blindsided God when He gave His living and powerful Word! Expositional preaching honors the powerful biblical truth described in Hebrews 4:12-13 as this type of preaching persist in extracting the specific meaning of a Biblical text in its context, and thus provides the means for those who hear to make the correct application of God’s Word to their lives.
“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
(God in Isaiah 55:11 NASB)