II. Defining Expository Preaching
Simply put, expository preaching is biblical preaching. That is to say, the message of an expository sermon is consistent with message of the bible. However, there is more to expository preaching than just this. Consistency with the message of the bible is a claim that many preaching methods could make. What separates expository preaching from all other methods is that not only is the message of an expository sermon consistent with the message of the bible, but furthermore the message of an expository sermon comes directly from the bible. Other methods may develop a message and then attempt to support it with scriptural truth, but expository preaching derives its message directly from a specific passage of scripture.
Expository preaching examines a biblical text in its context, exposes the truth that passage is teaching, and applies the truth to the modern day listeners. In order for a sermon to be an expository sermon all three of these elements must be present. A text must first be examined in its context. This means that the expositor is looking for the authorial intent of a passage. He wants to know what the original author of the biblical text was trying to convey to his original readers. Once this has been established the expositor then turns his attention to the abiding truth, or principle, that the passage is teaching. This principle must be derived from the original intent of the author, and reflect a timeless truth taught or exemplified by the passage. The expositor must bring this truth to light in order to connect modern day listeners with an ancient text. After bringing this truth out the expositor must then apply that truth to the lives of his listeners. This means that he must investigate and communicate all the implications that a particular passage might have on his listeners. The goal of an expository sermon is to bring about a change in the life of the listeners; to spurn them on towards godliness. This should be the aim for both preachers and listeners.