How does expositional preaching differ from other kinds of preaching?

Topical preaching: Topical preaching is preaching in which the preacher picks a topic he wants to address and then finds biblical material to fit that topic. Topical preaching is driven by the preacher’s agenda—what he wants to talk about. Expositional preaching, on the other hand, begins with the Bible. A preacher does not decide what to preach and then look at Scripture; rather, he looks at a text of Scripture and allows Scripture to determine what he preaches.

Exegetical lecture: Expositional preaching is not simply an exegetical lecture on the meaning or structure of a text. Rather, it applies the text to the personal details of a congregation’s lives. This won’t result in dry, dusty lectures because expositional preaching calls people to repent of their sin and trust in Christ and worship and obey God.



Story-driven inspirational speaking: Expositional preaching unfolds the meaning of a biblical text and applies it to life today. This means that a preacher should primarily explain the text and its relevance, not tell inspiring stories.

Narrative preaching: People today claim that preachinghas to tell a story in order to reach postmoderns, since people today like stories. Of course, people have always liked stories. And stories can be useful insofar as they explain the text and call attention to the text, not just the story! The point is, sinners who are separated from God need to hear from God. They need to understand his words, and what he’s saying to them. So however it’s done, a preacher should teach and apply the main point of a scriptural text to the lives of his hearers.

Dialogical preaching: Postmoderns don’t like monologue…except when they’re giving one! So people today say that preaching must be “dialogical.” It should invite others’ perspectives and contributions through dialogue. But expositional preaching is fundamentally monological. One man stands up and declares the mind of God from God’s Word to the people.

Find more great resources for church health from Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries at


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