Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Not the master of the Word, but its servant"

Unashamed Workman interviews Philip Ryken, senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, about expository preaching. Ryken answers "Ten Questions for Expositors." Part of his answer to the first question:
1. Can you provide us with a definition of biblical preaching?

Expository preaching means making God’s Word plain. In an expository sermon the preacher simply tries to explain what the Bible teaches. The main points of his sermon are the points made by a particular text in the Bible. The minister not only begins with Scripture, but also allows the Scripture to establish the context and content for his entire sermon. The way he decides what to say is by studying what the Bible has to say, so that the Scripture itself sets the agenda for his interpretation and application.

This kind of preaching is most helpfully done when a minister follows the logic of the Scriptures, systematically preaching chapter by chapter and verse by verse through entire books of the Bible. This helps ensure that a congregation hears what God wants them to hear, and not simply what their minister thinks they ought to hear.

But expository preaching is not so much a method as it is a mindset. A minister who sees himself as an expositor knows that he is not the master of the Word, but its servant. He has no other ambition than to preach what the Scriptures actually teach. His aim is to be faithful to God’s Word so that his people can hear God’s voice. He himself is only God’s mouthpiece, speaking God’s message into the ears of God’s people, and thus into their minds and hearts. ....
[the rest of the interview]
Thanks to Between Two Worlds for the reference.

Source: Unashamed Workman: Ten Questions for Expositors - Ryken

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