Clifton Jones, Philadelphia, PA — In topical preaching, you single out a portion of the text which you may never refer to again. You get a theme and ride it. Everybody gets happy because it sounds so sensational, but it does not anchor the hearer in the depths of the scripture. We like to leave them happy and yet ignorant.
Expository preaching is designed to dispel ignorance by explanation. The downside to expository preaching is that if the preacher isn’t studious enough to be fresh, he bores his audience. The preacher must be wise enough to choose the right text with enough outlets to cover other related scriptures without deviating from the truths of the central text.
There is a need for Apostolic commentary providing the people are in tune with basic Bible teaching that will provide insight and information from a relationship you developed with God that is not obtainable anywhere else.
Gary Ellis, Clarksville, TN — In my opinion, Pentecostals have become more response-driven and have great expectation of an experience. Too often, we are used to experiencing God during the preaching, but not listening to God. We have a hard time not having something to shout about.
Expository preaching is more about expounding and the application of the scripture and remaining true to the text itself. The scriptures have their own outline. You don’t have to create one. The Scriptures are well-written, and they interpret themselves. I taught many weeks on the book of Ephesians.
I love expository preaching. I don’t do it as much as I used to, mainly because I have a lot of unbelievers and new converts coming to church. I teach a lot of doctrine and do topical studies. The drawback with expository preaching is that you can’t talk about some of the other things you need talk about as you can when you preach topically.
David Reynolds, Grisham, OR — I don’t think the Word of God needs much commentary. It was written in a form that you and I could understand. Not much of the Word of God is hidden. Most scriptures don’t take any interpretation. They are God-breathed and God-inspired. When it comes down to it, if we are Apostolic and if the Bible says it, we ought to let the Bible say it.
We quote Matthew 28:19, but we don’t always quote verse 20. After you baptize them and get them saved, then comes discipleship. We are losing a lot of our new converts because we are not taking the time to disciple them. I’m a strong believer that we need to evangelize through teaching. Discipling is hard to do in an evangelistic setting.
A topical sermon is easier to prepare. You get a thought, go through your Thompson chain and put thought with thought. Expository preaching is what I would rather do because to prepare for it, you have to dig out the setting, what it contains and the reason why that portion of scripture was written. Some people would say expository preaching is really teaching—and maybe it is—and maybe that’s not so bad.
Edward McFarland, Richmond, IN — Expository preaching does not carry the same impact or have the same validity with new converts and people who do not trust that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Further, there are certain subjects that need to be covered with a congregation on an annual basis, and expository preaching doesn’t allow for that. In those cases, you have to go topical. In topical preaching, you have an agenda and look for scriptures that go along with it.
With expository preaching, you go with the flow of the text and allow the things that come out of it to engage you. You can’t bend the words. It is either in there or it is not; or if it is in there, you don’t see it right away. I find that more rewarding and edifying to find those hidden jewels.
I think everybody that does expository teaching should write a commentary.
Mike Meadows, Columbus, OH — I dearly love topical preaching. God uses it. Going from topic to topic appears to be our most prevalent style today, but I have discovered there are a lot of gems we can uncover from the Word by coming at its truth from a variety of presentation angles. The Word is an incredible goldmine and what is housed in the original languages is mind-blowing. Sometimes we barely skim over the top of sacred truths.
I have seen the power of expository teaching: exposing cardinal truths week after week as the text successively presents them. I taught a year and a half on the first 12 verses in the book of Jude. We were literally going word by word. I combined topical and expository, although the basic infrastructure was expository.
Boredom is the biggest curse of expository preaching. There should be nothing boring about expository preaching. Add a story; bring out the Hebrew, the Greek. Slap some cologne on it. Dress it in a tie and a suit. It’ll dance in the aisles.
That year and a half was awesome. Our church really grew. I have never seen anything like that before.
David Huston Carlisle, PA — Expository preaching is my basic style of preaching and teaching. The last book I went through verse by verse was the book of Ephesians.
Expository preaching helps bring out some of the deeper meaning. It gives a more comprehensive understanding of the scripture. The average person tends to read the scripture quickly and may not catch some of the deeper meanings.
In some cases, it may be hard to hold the attention of some of the people with expository preaching, but that is where the skill of the teacher comes in. I do topical preaching, too. It gives a well-rounded approach.
It would be great to have a commentary written by Apostolics. Most of the commentaries are written by Trinitarians. That doesn’t mean you can’t get good stuff out of it, but you have to be discerning. The average guy in the pew may not be so discerning and be able to tell the truth from the error.