Lecture 7 – Textual Expository Goals

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2) For a textual expository sermon


a) The goals envisioned for the discussion of a textual expository sermon.


1- An explication of the setting of the text

2 Cor. 4:1-2
2 Tim. 4:4

James W. Alexander, Thoughts on Preaching, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), p. 238.

(a) It should be characterized by accuracy, perspicuity, and brevity.

(b) Let the extent of the explication be determined by the text.

– The text may be treated accurately with very little reference to its context or setting.

– The context may have been underscored or opened up in the introduction.


2- A convincing explanation of the meaning of the words of the text

“The Bible should be explained, not under the influence of a vivid imagination but under the influence of a heart imbued with a love of truth, and by an understanding disciplined to investigate the meaning of words and phrases, and capable of rendering a reason for the interpretation which is proposed.” Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, Galatians, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1884-85), p. 375.

(a) The explanation should be characterized by accuracy, clarity, and brevity.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 160-161.

(b) Qualifications


3- An articulation of the burden of the text

The Puritan method was to state what they called the “doctrine” contained in the text.


4- Application of the abiding message and demands of the text

Here we encounter what the Puritans called the “uses” of the text.


b) The disciplines essential for the attainment of the goals for the discussion of textual expository sermon

1- The initial steps

(a) Earnest prayer for the present assistance of the Holy Spirit

William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics & Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), pp. 115-116.

(b) Attentive and repeated reading of the text in its native setting

John Murray, Collected Writing of John Murray, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976). pp. 212-213.

(c) Careful analysis of the text itself

– Grammatical construction

– Key words

(d) Conserve the fruit of your study, thoughts, outlines, applications on several sheets before you.

– Pastor Martin’s method of keeping three study sheets before him throughout his preparation:

1) An exegesis study sheet

2) A homiletical suggestions sheet

3) Possible applications sheet


2- The intermediate steps

(a) Reduce the materials to their natural divisions.


Foundation materials

Framing materials

Finishing materials

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972.), pp. 207-208.

(b) Wisely arrange the divisions.

– Consult the lecture from the previous unit dealing with “the necessity for perspicuity of form and structure in our sermons.”

(c) Carefully word the divisions.

– Seek to use linguistic parallelism in the words of your divisions. In this connection Rodale’s Synonym Finder is an invaluable tool.


3- The concluding steps

(a) Work in the illustrations.

(b) Work in the applications.

(c) Work in the connections and transitions.

– Don’t put your sermons together with invisible glue or transparent mortar.


c) Miscellaneous suggestions in the construction of the discussion or argument of a textual expository sermon

1- Seek to expose yourself to a variety of good models of textual expository preaching.

– Written sermons

Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, Vol. 17, p. 191ff.

– use SermonAudio

2- Continually read those authors who have written on the subject of textual expository preaching.

3- Don’t ever imbibe the notion that you have peaked and all you can do from here is maintain your ground or go downhill.

1 Tim. 4:15
2 Tim 2:15

4- Welcome and judiciously receive the criticism of competent critics of your efforts.

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