Expository preaching isn’t just a mark of a healthy church, it’s the first mark of a healthy church – the mark that lays the groundwork for all the rest.
What is expository preaching? Simply put, it is making the meaning and point of a particular bible passage the meaning and point of the sermon. In other words, what God says through a particular passage, the preacher says and applies to the church. That way the church can be confident that they are hearing God speak through the Bible rather than the latest thoughts from the preacher’s own mind.
In his book What is a Healthy Church Member, Thabiti Anyabwile introduces the concept of ‘expository listening’ and gives the following six pointers to getting the most out of a Sunday sermon:
- Meditate – on the bible passage that will form the sermon during the week, study it, pray over it;
- Invest – in a good set of commentaries to help understand the passage better;
- Talk and pray with friends – interact about the sermon you all heard during the week that follows;
- Listen to and act on the sermon during the week – commit to applying the teaching to your own life;
- Address any questions – follow up with the pastor if any questions arose in response to the sermon
- Cultivate humility – allow yourself to be transformed by God’s word, not merely a professional sermon critic.