Hearing Both Sides Of The Preaching Debate

September 12, 2011

I greatly prefer the practice of preaching consecutively through books of the bible. From time to time, I need to remind myself why this approach to preaching is so valuable. Clint Arnold has done a fine job of summarising some of the reasons why consecutive expository preaching can be our primary method.

  1. It is the best way to feed the sheep a balanced diet.
  2. It enables you to treat hard topics without being second-guessed.
  3. It helps to insure that you preach the Scripture and not yourself.
  4. It doesn’t have to be boring and lacking in relevance.
  5. Expository preaching is and should be application oriented.
  6. Expository preaching models how to read Scripture in context.
  7. There is a long history of this kind of preaching in the church—with great impact!

On the other hand, we need to hear critiques of the consecutive method as the only way to preach. Iain H. Murray raises a number of potential criticism of the consecutive method,  which should be considered.

1. Not every preacher is as capable in utilising this method.

2. The goal of preaching is not mainly to communicate as much information as possible.

3.  Historically, many have distinguished between a sermon and a lecture (ie. consecutive expository preaching).

4.  Sermons may be less memorable than if one preached on individual texts, and fastened those texts in the minds of the listeners.

5.  Evangelistic preaching is harder to do using the consecutive model.



One comment

  1. Thanks for this. Have you noticed, or thought about, why some preachers do not use (systematic) expository preaching as their standard approach?

    Could it be related to something else I am worried about… that many preachers and church leaders are actually just not interested in teaching the Bible?

    Preach? Yes, we’re all up for that! But, take and teach the Bible seriously? Hmm… I’m beginning to realise that many Christian leaders are not so sure about teaching the Bible. For example, why do so few churches have adult bible classes?

    Am I right to think this is a noticeable trend within certain strands of British and Irish evangelicalism?

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