Taking The Text Seriously

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  • I am a student of expository preaching.

    I believe in expository preaching.

    I am convinced that expository preaching – preaching that explains what the text means by what it says – is the most faithful way to preach.

    Yet I cringe when someone brings up the subject.

    Expository preaching is a new buzzword. Everyone is doing it. But not really.

    They used to sing, “Everybody talking about heaven ain’t going.”

    New verse: “Everybody talking about expository preaching ain’t doing it.”

    That’s fine. Really. It is.

    If your preaching is not expository, that’s okay. But it is not okay to be unbiblical.

    We are called to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). To do so, we must take the text seriously in our preaching.

    What do I mean?

    • Do not try to preach a text without doing your homework.
    • Do not call a text and then ignore it.
    • Do not spend all your time in the introduction and then rush through the text.
    • Do not use the text as a springboard for your own ideas.
    • Do not rip the text from its context to make it say what your want it to say.
    • Do not play with Greek and Hebrew words to say something novel.
    • Do not neglect the authorial intent of the text.
    • Do not major on what the text makes minor, or visa versa.
    • Do not impose meaning on the text that the author did not intend.
    • Do not treat your creative ideas as if they are more important than the dominating theme of the text.
    • Do not play on words or phrases in the text as a disconnected hook.
    • Do not use the text to manipulate emotions.
    • Do not rob the text of its punch to ensure you can whoop at the end.

    Paul’s preaching instructions to Timothy are clear, simple, and applicable to those of us who have the sacred duty to preach and teach:

     Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. – 1 Timothy 4:13


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.