John MacArthur’s philosophy of preaching is inextricably linked to his conviction that “The only logical response to inerrant Scripture . . . is to preach it expositionally. By expositionally, [he means] preaching in such a way that the meaning of the Bible passage is presented entirely and exactly as it was intended by God.” He defines expository preaching as “the proclamation of the truth of God as mediated through the preacher.”
Expository preaching is as old as the Torah. In Deuteronomy, Moses stands before the people of God and exposits the Word of God, explaining what God meant by what He had said to the nation of Israel. In the New Testament, Jesus’s ministry was expositional, always revealing the true meaning of the Old Testament. Other New Testament expositors include men like the martyr Stephen, who explained Israel’s redemptive history to a crowd of the nation’s hostile religious leaders, and the apostle Paul, who committed his letters to the exposition of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Since the Canon closed, men of God have devoted their lives to understanding and explaining all 66 books. Below are a few definitions of expository preaching from church history, as well as ten reasons why John MacArthur is committed to expository preaching.
Definitions of Expository Preaching
- John Calvin: “Preaching is the public exposition of Scripture by the man sent from God, in which God himself is present in judgment and in grace.”
- J.I. Packer: “A sermon is the proclamation of the Word of God only if the text of the Word is accurately expounded and preached. So, in the strictest sense of the term, authentic preaching is expository preaching.”
- David Helm: “Expositional preaching is empowered preaching that rightfully submits the shape and emphasis of the sermon to the shape and emphasis of a biblical text.”
Ten Reasons John MacArthur is Committed to Expository Preaching
- Expositional preaching submits the soul and the church to the authority of God and the headship of Christ.
- Expositional Preaching works in concert with the Holy Spirit to produce sanctification in the life of the believer.
- Expositional preaching produces humility and submission in the preacher and the congregation.
- Expositional Preaching conforms the thinking of the believer to the mind of Christ.
- Expositional Preaching prioritizes the glory of God and the majesty of Christ.
- Expositional Preaching infuses the pulpit with power as the preacher conveys a divine message through the inspired Word.
- Expositional Preaching transforms lives because it’s the Word.
- Expositional preaching protects the flock of God from false teaching and error.
- Expositional preaching produces theologically deep, humble prayer that is focused on the things of God.
- Expositional preaching teaches God’s people how to truly love the Lord and obey the first great commandment, to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
To hear even more reasons why John MacArthur is committed to expository preaching, listen to the following two sermons at gty.org.