Many years ago I used to enjoy listening to Chuck Swindoll’s radio program, Insight for Living. His down-to-earth, positive and wholesome approach to the exposition of Scripture appealed to me. I have many of his books on my shelves, and I have used his Bible Study Guides for my own preaching and teaching preparation. His radio program is still on the air, and he is still preaching as Senior Pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas.
I have just finished reading his latest book, The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal. In it he addresses the challenges faced by an increasingly secular culture, and an entertainment-driven popular Christian movement that is watering down the biblical gospel. He thinks that the church is facing an erosion of values, and needs pastors and leaders who will restore the church to its biblical moorings.
He champions the priorities of prayer, preaching, grace, mentoring, honesty, fellowship. He spends a whole chapter on the importance of worship and the tragedy of conflict over the expression of worship in music. He is worried by the growth of single, demographic congregations – where there are only younger people and no older people or vice versa. He writes that we face difficult times, and that they are going to get a lot worse. We need the Bible as a map and compass to guide us correctly through the jungle to our true destination. Many churches have compromised the teaching of the Bible and many preachers have failed to communicate its truths to their flocks. I like his definition of expository preaching:
- Expository preaching is the proclamation of Holy Scripture delivered for the purpose of enabling others to understand what God has written, why that is important, and how it relates to one’s personal life.
- Understanding what God has written requires the expositor to be accurate in both preparation and delivery of the Scriptures, so that the Bible is allowed to speak for itself.
- Understanding why God’s Word is important calls for the expositor to be passionate in communicating the truth, so that the one receiving the message is compelled to listen and eager to respond.
- Understanding how that message relates to life means that the expositor uses terms that are clear, delivers the message in ways that connect with needs, and applies it so specifically the hearer realizes the relevance of God’s Word and the necessity of aligning his or her life to it.
Pray for your preacher/pastor that he will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to expound the Scriptures in a meaningful and powerful way that will relevant to your congregation.