The Need for Expository Preaching – an Excerpt from Biblical Preaching, 3rd Edition

Cover ArtThe following is an excerpt from Biblical Preaching, by Haddon Robinson.


Those in the pulpit face the pressing temptation to deliver some message other than that of the Scriptures—a political system (either right-wing or left-wing), a theory of economics, a new religious philosophy, old religious slogans, or a trend in psychology.

Ministers can proclaim anything in a stained-glass voice at 11:30 on Sunday morning following the singing of hymns. Yet when they fail to preach the Scriptures, they abandon their authority. No longer do they confront their hearers with a word from God. That is why most modern preaching evokes little more than a wide yawn. God is not in it.

God speaks through the Bible. It is the major tool of communication by which he addresses individuals today. Biblical preaching, therefore, must not be equated with “the old, old story of Jesus and his love” as though it were retelling history about better times when God was alive and well. Nor is preaching merely a rehash of ideas about God—orthodox, but removed from life. Through the preaching of the Scriptures, God encounters men and women to bring them to salvation (2 Tim. 3:15) and to richness and ripeness of Christian character (vv. 16–17). Something fills us with awe when God confronts individuals through preaching and seizes them by the soul.

The type of preaching that best carries the force of divine authority is expository preaching. It would be fatuous, however, to assume that everyone agrees with that statement. A poll of churchgoers who have squirmed for hours under “expository” preaching that is dry as cornflakes without milk could not be expected to agree. While most preachers tip their hats to expository preaching, their practice gives them away. Because they seldom do it, they too vote no….Yet in spite of damage done by admirers, genuine expository preaching has behind it the power of the living God.

©2014 by Haddon W. Robinson. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


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