Sunday, March 20, 2011


I wrote in a previous blog about the six different types of sermons. Though all of those types of sermons are important and should be used in appropriate ways, the most effective style of preaching for the long term health of the local church is expository preaching. I encourage both laymen who aspire to preach and young pastors just starting out in ministry to pick up a copy of Evan Williams’ classic book, “How to Prepare Sermons.” Though it is an older book, the truth it teaches about expository sermons is just as fresh today as when Williams first penned it. For those who do not have access to a copy of his book, I have summarized his ideas about the importance of expository sermons below:

Williams defines an expository sermon as the type of sermon that deals more fully with the explanation of the scripture itself than any other type of sermon.

His suggestions for successful expository sermons include:

1. Use a portion of scripture that contains one leading thought or theme.

2. Consider preaching through an Old Testament book and then a New Testament book as a way to balance law and grace.

3. A thorough study of the entire text is absolutely critical for the success of an expository sermon.

4. The preacher must avoid being merely theoretical; he must be practical as well.

The advantages of expository sermons include:

1. It produces Biblical preachers and hearers.

2. It conforms to the Biblical ideal of preaching.

3. It is wider in scope than any other type of sermon.

The possible disadvantages of expository sermons include:

1. It can become monotonous for the congregation.

2. The preacher can become lazy if he does not actually dig into the meaning.

3. The text may be too long. Therefore, keep the sections short enough to deal with in one sermon.

4. Such sermons can become is too confining because they might ignore current events. To avoid this, utilize other types of sermons from time to time even if one prefers the expository sermon most of the time.

Though various styles of preaching should be used, the expository sermon should remain the "default" sermon that is used most often.

Above outline adapted from William Evans’ book, How to Prepare Sermons, published in Chicago by Moody Bible Institute in 1964. The outlined was adapted specifically from pages 92-97.