On a recent trip to Boise, I got to do something I have never done before – go on a live radio broadcast! The generous team at KBXL was kind enough to invite me on “Live Morning Drive with Doug Hardy” to talk about the upcoming church plant. (Listen to the interview here.) Doug was a great host and a helpful guide for my first time on the air, but I will admit I was a bit nervous and it took me a little while to feel at ease. Just as I started to get comfortable, Doug asked this question: “How important is expository preaching do you think?”
My eyes lit up the way I imagine Mike Trout’s do when he sees a hanging curveball headed right over the middle of the plate. Few subjects get me more excited than expository preaching.
Expository preaching is a kind of preaching that focuses on explaining what the Bible (usually a specific text of the Bible) means. Often this kind of preaching is done in a verse-by-verse fashion through the books of the Bible. A commitment to expository preaching is the second distinctive of Compass Bible Church. We put it like this: Our goal is that Compass pastors won’t use the Bible to preach their messages, but that the Bible will use Compass pastors to preach its message.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 summarizes why such a commitment to expository preaching is possible and necessary. It says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Let me highlight three reasons from these verses why I am committed to expository preaching.
People need to hear from God, not from me.
God wrote a book.
Think about that.
When you open up the Bible, you are reading the very words of God. Yes, there were human authors involved, but God “inspired” and led them to write the exact words that they did. The God who made the heavens and the earth has spoken. His word is therefore worthy of study. People don’t need to hear my thoughts or opinions – they need to hear the word of God.
The Bible will always be relevant.
Because the Bible is the word of God, it will always be pertinent and applicable. It will eternally be “of the moment.” 2 Timothy says it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The Bible helps point out our error when we get off track. It shows us how to live.
The world around us may be changing all the time, but Scripture will always be relevant because it speaks to our deepest and unchanging needs. We need a Savior. We need direction. We need hope. People need meaning and purpose. The Bible points us to all of those things. They don’t need to be injected into the Scripture – they’re already there. Expository preaching helps people see that.
Expository preaching sets an example.
Good expository preaching always begins with a simple and straight-forward question: what is the meaning of this text? The text can only truly mean one thing, and a good sermon must provide that answer. But solid preaching will do more than that. It will unpack not only the meaning but the application of the text, as well.
This is exactly what Christians should be doing with their Bibles all the time. They should be reading it and studying it to understand what it means. Then they should also be praying and examining their own lives to understand how it applies to them. When people see their pastor doing this each and every weekend, they will be more fully equipped to do it on their own all week.
I can’t wait to preach the word at Compass Bible Church Treasure Valley!