Right Preaching #3
Types of Expository Sermons
There are different approaches to expository preaching and it is beneficial to familiarize ourselves with them. First and probably the most effective approach is called sequential exposition. This approach is a consecutive, verse by verse series of sermons through entire books of the Bible. I have used this method in times past and this is what David has been doing in recent times on Sunday nights with 1 Peter. In sequential exposition, the expositor [preacher] would teach a book of the Bible beginning with chapter one verse one and unit by unit, read the text, expose the meaning of the text and make application of it to us today. This type of expository preaching should be the meat and potatoes of a preacher. Think about it. Almighty God gave us the books of the Bible with the material of each book in the sequential order that it is. What could be “better,” or more effective than studying and teaching it exactly the way God gave it to the original recipients? How is it possible that we could improve upon such an approach? I’m not saying that any other way is sinful necessarily; I’m saying what approach to studying and preaching could possibly be superior? This type of expository sermon is the exact opposite of regularly “skipping” around through the Bible, quoting verses from many various places and leaving the assembly in a head-spin. When a preacher preaches sequential exposition, every truth of that book will be given, every sin recorded will be exposed and every promise given will be taught. This will deepen the life of the congregation more than any of the other types.
Second, there is sectional exposition. This is when a sermon(s) covers a section [a unit] within a book of the Bible. For example, the expositor might do a series of sermons from Matthew chapters 5-7 - the Sermon on the Mount. Other examples could include: John 13-16, 1 Corinthians 13, or even The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
Third, there is topical/thematic exposition. These are sermons regarding certain truths. With this approach, the preacher/teacher will select a particular doctrine of Scripture such as “repentance” - he will then gather the key texts and put them on a strand. When this type of sermon is taught, the preacher still strives to preach said verses with their original settings and contexts in mind. The benefit is to consider what the totality of God’s word teaches on a particular subject. “The entirety of Your word is truth.” (Psalm 119:160).
Fourth, there is biographical exposition. This is a very beneficial type of sermon where people from Scripture are studied carefully. There is much to learn from the people recorded in Scripture - both godly and wicked people. For example, a study of Genesis 11-26 could focus on the father of the faithful - Abraham or by preaching Genesis 37-50 one could teach about Joseph.
Fifth, there is the single stand alone exposition. This type of sermon is rooted in a passage of Scripture where the expositor preaches an isolated text that meets a particular legit need and not be a part of a series. Such can be great for the Sunday after a faithful sister in Christ died the day before and the preacher preaches 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. The title of the sermon could be “The Comfort of His Coming.” The thesis and the outline/points of his sermon might be that we are comforted by the: (1) Fact of Revelation [4:13, 15a] (2) Fact of His Return [4:14-15] (3) Fact of the Resurrection [4:15-16] (4) Fact of a Reunion [4:17-18].
In all of these, the contextual meaning of each verse is of first importance, then an application to our lives today. Each type of sermon can be beneficial in many ways. Ultimately, may Jesus Christ be glorified!