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What Is Expository Preaching?

Expository Preaching is a form of preaching that people talk about in books, at conferences, and online. But it’s become one of those things that’s often described but rarely defined. I’ll ask: What is the definition of expository preaching?

what is expository preaching

What Is Expository Preaching?

It’s important to note that “expository” is not a distinctively Christian term. “Expository” is often used in other forms of communication like expository writing or expository essays and so on.

It’s also worth noting that “expository” is often used interchangeably with the word “exposition” and sometimes “exegetical.” Before we can say what expository preaching is, we must define what “expository” means.

In the American Dictionary of the English Language, we find this:

Expository: “Serving to explain; tending to illustrate” (pg. 78).

Not a bad start, but I think the definitions for “exposition” sheds more light for our question.

Exposition: “A laying open; a setting to public view.” Or: “A situation in which a thing is exposed or laid open, or in which it has an unobstructed view . . .” And finally: “Explanation; interpretation; a laying open the sense or meaning of an author, or of any passage in a writing” (pg. 77-78).

In the Greek, the word expository comes from the Greek word ek which means “out of” or “from.”

Expository preaching, therefore, is a style of preaching in which the preacher aims to lay open the original meaning of a particular Bible passage, ensuring the main points of his sermon comes from the text upon which he is expounding.

That’s my technical definition.

To simplify, expository preaching is all about the text. It’s about unpacking the passage. It’s about going through a text, often verse-by-verse, and explaining, illustrating, applying, and defending from the passage. The expositor’s great aim is to be faithful to the text.

You may also like: 

  1. How to Write An Expository Sermon
  2. Expository Sermon Example

 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more>