5 Tools that Aid Faithful, Expositional Preaching
One of the most important responsibilities (joys) we have as preachers of the Gospel is to rightly divide the Word of Truth for our people. As pastors and student pastors committed to the truth and power of God’s Word, we must work to prevent common misinterpretations of Scripture. Without a doubt, fervent prayer and continual immersion in the Bible lay the foundation for faithful preaching. We must go to the words of our Savior first and then welcome in the wisdom of our brothers and sisters.
There are a plethora of resources available, but here are a few key tools that we prefer. We hope you’ll enjoy them as well.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
Getting the Message
By Daniel M. Doriani
Read it if: You’re teaching the Bible week in and week out, and don’t feel confident in your method of study yet. Doriani provides a simple yet effective plan for interpreting and applying God’s Word.
“For all those who fear that the Bible is a mysterious labyrinth through which they cannot find their way, Doriani provides wonderful guidance. Written with craft and wit, this highly readable book combines great biblical insight with marvelous practical wisdom. The ‘how to’ guidelines and examples for interpreting Scripture are so clear that even those new to Scripture will say, ‘Hey I can do that, too.’ This first-rate scholar writes from a pastor’s heart to put a scriptural feast within reach of us all.” – Bryan Chapell
“Whether you read primarily to remind yourself of familiar principles, or to organize scattered events, or to prepare for a teaching ministry, remember that exegesis is a skill, and we grow in skills by practicing them.” – Daniel Doriani
By D.A. Carson
Read it if: You’re looking for an exegetical tool to help you dig deep into original languages, sentence structure, verb tenses, and common grammatical errors. On that note, be aware this is a pretty heavy book, it goes into the Greek a good deal and can be a little discouraging to read.
“…we will not go far astray if we approach the Bible with a humble mind and then resolve to focus on central truths. Gradually we will build up our exegetical skills by evenhanded study and a reverent, prayerful determination to become like the workman ‘who correctly handles the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15, NIV).” – D.A. Carson
Interpreting the Pauline Epistles
By Thomas R. Schreiner
Read it if: You’re prepping to teach anything written by Paul, or simply wanting to pick up on better strategies to help students understand and apply the epistles in their lives. Chapters five and six are absolute gold where he walks through two different ways of analyzing the text (tracing the argument and diagramming). Schreiner will equip you with tools that will help you engage the text for the rest of your life.
“…we should ask: How should we apply Paul’s theology to our culture today? How do we translate Paul’s word to the twenty-first-century world? We must be ever mindful that the process of exegesis is not complete unless we bridge the gap between the first-century world and the contemporary world.” – Thomas Schreiner
“Too often evangelicals have responded to the world of scholarship with an anti-intellectual attitude. Recognizing the glaring deficiencies of critical scholarship, evangelicals have sometimes responded by denying the need for critical and searching study of the Bible.” – Thomas Schreiner
40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible
By Robert L. Plummer
Read it if: You want a quick-reference tool that always lays open on your desk, next to your Bible. Plummer tackles all of the major interpretation questions facing pastors and communicates complicated issues in everyday language.
“Informed by recent scholarship and presented in an accessible format that is both practical and relevant, the volume is a joy to read. The author has, in essence, provided us with a book on biblical interpretation broken up into digestible bits and pieces, using a format that makes it easier to stomach a subject that often gets stuck in…student’s throats.” – Andreas Kostenberger
“This book is intended to help you understand the Bible…I endeavored to write so that the book will be beneficial to any curious Christian.” – Robert Plummer
Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon
By Bryan Chapell
Read it if: You’re looking for a simple but thorough guide to expositional preaching. Chapell writes in a format that seeks to exalt Christ in every sermon. This is an accessible, user-friendly work that will serve any Bible teacher well.
“The glory of preaching is that God accomplishes his will through it, but we are always humbled and occasionally comforted by the knowledge that he works beyond our human limitations.” – Bryan Chapell
“Great gifts do not necessarily make for great preaching. The technical excellence of a message may rest on your skills, but the spiritual efficacy of your message resides with God.” – Bryan Chapell
“Biblical preaching moves from exegetical commentary and doctrinal exposition to life instruction. Such preaching exhorts as well as expounds because it recognizes that Scripture’s own goal is not merely to share information about God but to conform his people to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Preaching without application may serve the mind, but preaching with application results in service to Christ. Application makes Jesus the source and the objective of a sermon’s exhortation as well as the focus of its explanation.” – Bryan Chapell
“As expository preachers, our ultimate goal is not to communicate the value of our opinions, others’ philosophies, or speculative meditations but rather to show how God’s Word discloses his will for those united to him through his Son. Truths of God proclaimed in such a way that people can see that the concepts derive from Scripture and apply to their lives preoccupy the expository preacher’s efforts.” – Bryan Chapell
We have no excuse for laziness as we approach preaching the Bible. We commend you to spend hours letting God’s Word pour over your mind and heart. We plead with you to spend hours on your knees in prayer. And, we trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in you before He works through you. We’ve read these five works and routinely use them as resources to sharpen our approach to Bible exposition. Let us know if you have any specific questions on these books (or others).
The mission of Snowbird is to equip the local church to make disciples at home and abroad. Comment below with any requests or topic suggestions for future content, and be sure to check out all of our sermons and resources in the top menu.