Three Key Words

February 20, 2007

This week’s Classic Materials is a short excerpt from “Preaching – How to Preach Biblically” by John MacArthur and the Master’s Seminary faculty. In a chapter written by MacArthur himself, he explains how biblical preaching can be explained by way of three key words. I commend his comments to you:


“Expositional preaching can be summed up in three key words: inductive, exegetical, and expositional.

Expository preaching is inductive. That means simply that we approach the text to find out what it means, to let it speak for itself. It is the opposite of the deductive method, which goes to Scripture with a preconceived idea and reads that idea into the text. A deductive approach may be valid sometimes, but extreme care must be taken to make sure the passage really supports an idea before using that approach.

Expository preaching is exegetical. The expository preacher must do his homework in the passage before he preaches it. That means following proper hermeneutical and exegetical principles and practice…An expository preacher is to be a man noted for ‘handling accurately the word of truth.’ (2 Tim 2:15)

Expository preaching is expositional. It approaches the Word of God inductively, studies it exegetically, then explains it to the people expositionally. Expositional preaching seeks to clarify what is difficult to understand in the passage. It opens up the Word and exposes the less obvious meanins and applicaitons it contains.”

(John MacArthur; Preaching; p 182)


One comment

  1. Colin,

    Thanks for your great work on this blog. I read every post. I think MacArthur misses one crucial word for preaching and that is proclamational (well, it might not be a true word, but you get the point). Though there is substantial overlap, preaching and teaching are also different in that preaching always involves proclamation of its truths for appropriate responses. In his last paragraph, MacArthur talks about “opening up the Word” to show its “applications.” I would want to make a stronger point and argue for proclamation in addition.

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