Consider the word “expose, exposition, expositor, expository.” According to Webster, and exposition is a discourse to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand. Applying this idea to preaching requires that an expositor be on who explains Scripture by laying open the text to public view in order to set forth its meaning, explain what is difficult to understand, and make appropriate application.
John Calvin’s centuries-old understanding of exposition is very similar:
First of all, Calving understood preaching to be the explication of Scripture. The words of Scripture are source and content of preaching. As a expositor, Calving brought to the task of preaching all the skills of a humanist scholar. As an interpreter, Calvin explicated the text, seeking it natural, it true, it scriptural meaning…. Preaching is not only the explication of Scripture, it is also the application of Scripture. Just as Calvin explicated Scripture word-by-word, so he applied the Scripture sentence by sentence to the lfie and experience of his congregation.
Exposition is not so much defined by the form of the message as it is by the source of the process through which the message was formed. Unger poignantly captures this sense:
No matter what the length of the portion explained may be, if it is handled in a such a way that its real and essential meaning as it existed in the mind of the particular Biblical writer and as it exists in the light of the overall context off Scripture is mad plain and applied to the present-day needs of the hears, it may properly be said to be expository preaching….It is emphatically not preaching about the Bible, but preaching the Bible. “What saith the Lord” is the alpha and the omega of expository preaching. It begins in the Bible and ends in the Bible and all that intervenes spring from the Bible. In other words, expository preaching is Bible-centered preaching.
In summary, the following minimal elements identify expository preaching:
- The message find its sole source in Scripture.
- The message is extracted from Scripture through careful exegesis.
- The message preparation correctly interprets Scripture in it normal sense and its context.
- The message clearly explains the original God-intended meaning of Scripture
- The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today.
The Spirit of expository preaching is found in two Biblical texts:
“And they read from the book, from the law of God, translated to give the sense so that they understood the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink form declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:26-27)
From "Rediscovering Expository Preaching" - Pastor John MacAruthur