You are on page 1of 9


Turning Exegesis into Exposition Part 2

Tom Pennington Senior Associate Pastor, Grace Community Church
Introduction Exegesis is never an end in itself. Its purposes are never fully realized until it begins to take into account the problems of transferring what has been learned from the text over to the waiting Church. To put it more bluntly, exegesis must come to terms with the audience as well as with what the author meant by the words he used. Walter C. Kaiser

Preaching an expository message involves far more than standing in the pulpit and reviewing the high points, details, and components unearthed through research. Neither a word study nor a running commentary on a passage is, in itself, an expository sermon. An expository sermon does more than simply explain the grammatical structure of a passage and the meanings of its words. A true expository message sets forth the principles or doctrines supported in the passage. True expository preaching is doctrinal preaching. The proper elements in an expository sermon may be summed up as follows: 1. Preaching is expository in purpose. It explains the text. 2. Preaching is logical in flow. It persuades the mind. 3. Preaching is doctrinal in content. It obligates the will. 4. Preaching is pastoral in concern. It feeds the soul. 5. Preaching is imaginative in pattern. It excites the emotion. 6. Preaching is relevant in application. It touches the life. The task of the expository preacher is to take the mass of raw data from the text and bridge the gap between exegesis and exposition. John MacArthur


Building the Body of the Message A careful exegesis of the passage will provide you with all the key components of a solidly biblical expository message: Exegesis Theme Syntactical Structure Historical, Grammatical Detail Expository Message Proposition Outline The Body of the Message

Each point of the outline will usually include the following: A. Exegesisthis is what it says 1. Contextual analysis

2. Syntactical analysis The way in which words are put together so as to form phrases, clauses, and sentences will aid us in discovering the author's pattern of meaning. . . . Thus syntactical analysis systematically operates from three basic building blocks: (1) the concept, (2) the proposition, and (3) the paragraph. It is through the precise way in which these three units are organized and arranged that the exegete receives all the data he needs to begin the journey of moving from the text to the destination of using that text in a teaching or preaching situation. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 3. Verbal analysis Words and idioms are the most basic of all the linguistic building-blocks of meaning. Through the accumulation of words and idioms a writer expresses the distinctive thought he has in mind. . . . .words, like people, are known by the company they keep. It is essential that we always be aware of the surrounding words (i.e., the company) as they were intended by the author who wrote them. He is the final court of appeal as to the use of his own words when it comes to determining meaning. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 4. Historical analysis The historical sense is that sense which is demanded by a careful consideration of the time and circumstances in which the author wrote. It is the specific meaning which an author's words require when the historical context and background are taken into account. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. B. Explanationthis is what it means 1. Definition 2. Comparison 3. Description 4. Contrast 5. Outline C. Argumentationthis is why you should believe it The primary purpose of argumentation is to convince the listener that your interpretation of the passage conforms to the rest of Scripture and should be embraced as the truth. The expositors tools to successfully make that argument are: 1. Primary tools a. Parallel passages of Scripture

b. Supporting passages of Scripture (the analogy of faith) 2. Secondary tools a. Commentaries b. Systematic Theologies c. Church History d. Quotations from well-known expositors e. Logic D. Illustrationthis is what it looks like A building without windows would be a prison rather than a house, for it would be quite dark, and no one would care to take it upon lease; and, in the same way, a discourse without a parable is prosy and dull, and involves a grievous weariness of the flesh. . . . Our congregations hear us with pleasure when we give them a fair measure of imagery: when an anecdote is being told they rest, take breath, and give play to their imaginations, and thus prepare themselves for the sterner work which lies before them in listening to our profounder expositions. C.H. Spurgeon The necessity of illuminating the sermon properly is found in the mental attitude of the people. Whether we like it or not, most of us preach to the "moving picture mind." It is the mind accustomed to images, pictures, scenes, rapidly moving. It certainly is not accustomed to deep thinking or long, sustained argument. Current magazines, bill boards, novels, drama, rapid transit, all add to this popular method of visual thinking. We as ministers may not approve of the daily fare of the people; we may regret their inability to pursue abstract logic; we may wish them to prefer theoretical reasoning. But whatever our wishes, we must recognize that they regard thinking which is not imaginary and concrete as dull and uninteresting. Bryan Dawson. 1. The misuse of illustrations a. To manipulate the emotions of the hearer b. To shock the hearer c. To relate an interesting story (if it doesnt fit the point you are trying to illustrate) d. To pad a poorly prepared message e. Merely to get a laugh 2. The legitimate use of illustrations Illustratecomes from a Latin word meaning to let the light in; every illustration should serve as a window to let additional light in on the truth. a. Clarify the truth b. Humanize the truth c. Emphasize the truth Good illustrations are far more easily remembered than bright sayings and trains of argument. It is a not uncommon experience with preachers to find that their finest sentences and most profound observations easily slip the

memory, while some apparently trivial anecdote or illustration remains. If these can be made so apt as necessarily to recall the argument or train of thought, so much the better. John A. Broadus 3. The primary types of illustrations a. Narrative b. Quotations c. Examples d. Statistics 4. The sources of illustrations a. The Scripture Itself i. Bibles cross references ii. Word searches iii. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge iv. Torreys Topical Textbook b. General sources i. Science ii. History iii. Literature and Art iv. Personal Experience c. Specific sources i. News magazines and newspapers ii. Internet searches iii. Readers Digest iv. National Geographic, encyclopedias, etc. 5. The pitfalls of illustrations a. Including too many Illustrate, by all means, but do not let the sermon be all illustrations, or it will be only suitable for an assembly of simpletons. A volume is all the better for engravings, but a scrap-book which is all woodcuts is usually intended for the use of little children. Our house should be built up with the substantial masonry of doctrine, upon the deep foundation of inspiration; its pillars should be of solid Scriptural argument, and every stone of truth should be carefully laid in its place; and then the windows should be ranged in due order, "three rows" if we will: "light against light," like the house of the forest of Lebanon. But a house is not erected for the sake of windows, nor may a sermon be arranged with the view of fitting in a favourite apologue. A window is merely a convenience subordinate to the entire design, and so is the best illustration. C.H. Spurgeon b. Including inaccurate facts c. Announcing that an illustration is coming (rather than simply beginning the illustration) E. Applicationthis is what you should do with it

Preaching is essentially a personal encounter, in which the preacher's will is making a claim through the truth upon the will of the hearer. If there is no summons, there is no sermon. John A. Broadus 1. The guiding principles of application a. Should flow from authorial intent The most powerful application of any passage is always the one the Holy Spirit intended when He inspired that passage. Every expositor should use all the exegetical tools at his disposal to strive to discern exactly how the Spirit and the human writer intended the first readers to apply that passage. b. Should be suited to the audience c. Should be placed in the message where best suited to text: i. Throughout ii. In the Conclusion iii. Both 2. The definition of application (from John Broadus) a. Focusing the claims of truthapplication proper, in which one shows the hearer how the truths of the sermon apply to him. b. Suggesting ways and meanspractical suggestions concerning the best mode and means of performing the duty urged. c. Persuading to vital responsepersuasion in the sense of moral and spiritual appeal for right response. 3. Sources for application a. Clear application in the text itself b. Your own spiritual experiences (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13) c. Observation of your people d. Observation of the culture e. Commentaries and other resources


Creating a Logical Flow Nothing will more quickly obscure the structure of your message than the failure to provide your listeners with a clear, logical flow from one point of your argument to the next. The tool that best ensures that kind of clarity is the transition statement. Transition may be formally defined as both the act and means of moving from one part of the sermon to another, from one division to another, and from one idea to another. Transitions are to sermons what joints are to the bones of the body. "They are the bridges of the discourse, and by them" the preacher moves from point to point. John A. Broadus

A. The Purposes of a Transition 1. Emphasisto emphasize the main divisions of the message 2. Movementto enable the audience to recognize that the speaker is leaving one major outline point and is moving to the next 3. Logicto identify for the audience the logical connection between two major points 4. Introductionto introduce the next main division B. The Components of a Transition 1. A brief review statement of the previous point (note: if there are more than three main points, it helps to review all the previous points in one of the transitional statements) 2. A transition word (e.g., but, however, in addition, secondly, finally) 3. A question or statement that draws the listener to the next point C. The Logistics of a Transition 1. It should be fully written out. 2. It should be completely read. 3. It should be stressed in a way that it stands out from the rest of the message; some methods for accomplishing verbal emphasis are: a. Pausing briefly b. Varying the force of speech c. Varying the rate of speech d. Varying the pitch of speech


Formatting Your Pulpit Notes The format of the notes you take into the pulpit will depend on your personal preferences. Here are some of the issues you should consider. A. Form 1. Handwritten 2. Computer-generated; there are numerous advantages to preparing and archiving your messages on computer: a. Readable b. Searchable c. Easily edited for format or content d. Easily blocked and copied to different message

e. Easily transportable (every sermon you have preached can be burned on a single CD, carried with you, and printed for immediate use from almost any computer) f. Easy to backup for redundancy (the expositors sermon file represents his most valuable possession; store CD or zip drive copies of your messages at two or more separate locations in case of fire, flood, theft, etc.) B. Volume 1. Manuscript 2. Detailed outline (preferred) 3. Simple outline 4. Extemporaneous (see Expository Preaching without Notes) C. Paper Size (common: 8 x 11; 6" x 9 ) D. Highlighting/underlining Create your own key so that at a glance you can quickly identify the following in your notes: 1. Main points 2. Key words or points 3. Next PowerPoint slide


Reviewing the Entire Process A. The Exegesis

1. Greek/Hebrew/English syntactical analysis (an exegetical outline) 2. Detailed Study a. Word studies b. Cross references c. Commentaries, theologies, and other resources B. The Expository Sermon 1. Proposition 2. Expository outline (clearly follows the exegetical outline, but puts the truth in timeless terms) 3. The body of the message

4. Transitions 5. Introductions and conclusions 6. Pulpit notes 7. Pre-pulpit ritual


Reading Helpful Resources A. On Exegesis Beekman, John, John Callow. Translating The Word of God. Zondervan, 1974. Fee, Gordon D. New Testament Exegesis. John Knox Press, 1993. Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Toward An Exegetical Theology. Baker, 1981.

B. On Preaching Braga, James. How to Prepare Bible Messages. Multnomah, 1969. Broadus, John A. On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. Rev. ed. Reprint, Harper & Row, 1979. Dabney, R.L. Evangelical Eloquence. Reprint, Banner of Truth Trust, 1999. Larson, David L. The Anatomy of Preaching. Baker, 1989. Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Preaching and Preachers. Zondervan, 1972. Logan, Samuel T., Jr. ed. The Preacher and Preaching. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1986. MacArthur, John, Jr. Rediscovering Expository Preaching. Word Publishing, 1992. Morgan, G. Campbell. Preaching. Reprint, Baker, 1974. Piper, John. The Supremacy of God in Preaching. Baker, 1990. Stott, John R. W. Between Two Worlds. Eerdmans, 1982.

C. On a Library Badke, William B. The Survivor's Guide to Library Research. Zondervan, 1990. Barber, Cyril J. The Minister's Library. Moody, 1985-. 2 volumes plus supplements.

Barker, Kenneth L., Bruce K. Waltke, Roy B. Zuck. Bibliography for Old Testament Exegesis and Exposition. Dallas Theological Seminary, 1979. Bollier, John A. The Literature of Theology: A Guide for Students and Pastors. Westminster, 1979. Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. Baker, 1986. Childs, Brevard S. Old Testament Books for Pastor and Teacher. Westminster, 1977. Johnston, William M. Recent Reference Books in Religion. IVP, 1996. Kiehl, Erich H. Building Your Biblical Studies Library. Concordia, 1988. Martin, Ralph P. New Testament Books for Pastor and Teacher. Westminster, 1984. Rosscup, James E. Commentaries for Biblical Expositors. Grace Books International, 1983. Spurgeon, Charles H. Commenting and Commentaries. Banner of Truth, 1969. Wiersbe, Warren W. A Basic Library for Bible Students. Baker, 1981.

The Master's Seminary website includes a very helpful list of the most important 750 books a pastor should purchase for his library []. Conclusion It is surprising how stoutly and stubbornly the churches insist upon preachers knowing how to preach. They will forgive almost everything else, but they will not forgive inability to preach. No man who knows how to preach with grace and power need stand idle in the marketplace a single hour. The churches are scouring the country in search of such a man, and he cannot escape if he would. Charles Jefferson Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1). Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God (1 Peter 4:11).