If you’re a preacher, then your job description is simple: preach. If you don’t do this one thing, then don’t call yourself a preacher.
Now, this doesn’t mean that all forms of preaching are the same—they’re not. As preachers, we are commanded to preach. With this command God doesn’t provide us with an exact guide on how we should do it. He’s left us with options to fulfill his call to “preach the word.”
In my preaching, there are various methods that I’ve used and will continue to use to help me best fulfill God’s call to preach.
Below is what I believe to be the three best methods when preaching. If you’re a preacher, I hope they are helpful in fulfilling your call.
Expository preaching is simply preaching through a book of the Bible verse-by-verse. I’ve had the privilege to preach through many books of the Bible this way, including most recently the book of Luke.
- Doesn’t leave anything out. All Scripture is inspired by God, is for our benefit, and should be examined (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
- Requires preachers to engage difficult texts and issues they normally would be tempted to avoid.
- Allows for Christians and non-Christians alike to follow along easily.
Textual preaching falls between expositional and topical preaching. Textual preaching is preaching on one section of Scripture from within a book of the Bible. For example, I recently preached a series called the Seven. With this series, I preached through Revelation 1–3, with an emphasis on the reaction of the seven churches to Jesus and what we as the church can learn from those reactions today.
- Shows the consistency of Scripture by linking sections of Scripture together thematically.
- Allows for preachers to work with smaller sections of Scripture, which creates flexibility in addressing issues as they arise.
- Allows for preachers to work around the Christian calendar and conduct mini-series around them, such as Christmas and Easter.
Topical preaching is the most common type of preaching today. Topical preaching is using several texts from one or more books of the Bible or biblical authors to speak on an issue. A recent example of this would be the sermon series I conducted called Real Marriage.
- Allows a preacher to trace a theme through multiple books of the Bible, which shows consistency
- Provides the ability to address questions and controversies that arise
- Allows for a preacher to select the most appropriate verse from Scripture on a given topic
Preach the Whole Counsel of God
If you’re a preacher, I encourage you to take your call to preach as seriously as God does. God holds those of us who are called to preach to higher standards than others (James 3:1). As preachers, we are responsible for what our flock is taught. We are to preach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). This includes every book of the Bible, both Old Testament and New.
Preaching God’s word is not intended to win you a popularity contest. It’s intended to make disciples of Jesus by “teaching them to observe all” that [Jesus has] commanded” (Matt. 28:20).
Don’t get caught up in how you should preach. Do get caught up in what you should preach: the word.
For more from Pastor Mark on preaching, check out his post from last fall, “16 Things I Look for in a Preacher.”