I think there are two really, really basic mistakes you don’t want to make if you are an expository preacher. Yet the crazy thing is, I’m convinced these are two of the most common mistakes preachers make.
The first mistake is not to carefully exposit the passage you are preaching.
Exposit is not too hard a word to understand. When it comes to preaching we can say it means to expose people to the meaning of the text.
Not merely the words of the text, not merely the grammar of the text, not merely the setting of the text, the meaning of the text. (As the author intended it…) When we say we’re expository preachers that’s a big part of what we’re saying we’re trying to do.
That’s sometimes difficult to do but the idea itself is not that complicated. If I stood up to teach on the boy who cried wolf and I said my goal was to help people understand what it means, I would be lying if I said the point was about how to herd sheep. I’d be foolish if I spent all this time on wolves and the different kinds of wolves and what you should do if you see a wolf because that’s not the point of the text. I mean if I am going to do that I should at the very least not say that I’m expositing the story because I’ll give people the impression that I’m actually trying to help understand the story when in reality I’m just interested in using the story to say what I wanted to say in the first place.
The second mistake though is just as common and that is not to preach the passage you are expositing.
Now I’m getting on a little shakier ground. But hear me out. Again you just can go back to the word itself.
Preaching at the very least is communication. It’s more than that I’m sure, but it is that. It is taking a truth that you’ve learned from studying the text and finding a way to communicate it to other people so that they can understand that truth and change in the way God wants them to as a result.
I guess what I’m saying there are people who when they are preaching, you just wonder whether or not they have any concern about the text. They are not expositors. There are other people though who when they are expositing, you wonder whether or not they have any concern about communicating. Are they preachers?
Is it possible to be a preacher and not be passionate about effectively communicating the truth of God’s Word? To get more specific, is it possible to be passionate about effectively communicating the truth of God’s Word without a concern for God’s Word or a concern for the people you are communicating the truth to?