The publishing class of 1992 includes several titles worthy of note — and deserving of a place on the preacher’s bookshelf. But the Preaching Book of the Year recognition goes to a massive 400-page celebration of expository preaching. A project undertaken by John MacArthur, Jr. and the faculty of The Master’s Seminary, Rediscovering Expository Preaching: Balancing the Science and Art of Biblical Exposition (Word Publishing, 1992) is a full course on biblical preaching from a master of the art.
John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and preacher for the popular “Grace to You” radio broadcast, is also president of The Master’s Seminary, an institution which serves to prepare preachers “to proclaim the Word of God effectively, so that nonbelievers can be evangelized and believers can be equipped to do the work of ministry.”
Rediscovering Expository Preaching is based upon the instruction and curriculum offered at The Master’s Seminary. The contributors set out four purposes for their volume: “1. To clarify the need for and meaning of expository preaching …. 2. To verify the theological and historical demand for expository preaching …. 3. To specify the essential elements and steps involved in preparation for and participation in expository preaching …. 4. To exemplify the reality of expository preaching.”
The book lives up to its billing and stated purposes. And it does so, at least in part, because it takes its subject with such seriousness. “No profession,” warns MacArthur, “has as high a liability potential as that of the preacher of God’s Word.”
As he asks: “Shall I not be held responsible to God for any perversion of truth, however witless, and for any negligence and lack of skill? What earthly regulatory association validates me? Do not I, who preach God’s Word, face a higher court than the legal bar or any medical tribunal?”
The book clearly finds its origins in MacArthur’s own concern for the integrity of contemporary Christian preaching. His concerns have been well-documented in his writings and sermon series, and they have struck a decisive warning. As MacArthur traced, “there has been a discernible trend in contemporary evangelicalism away from biblical preaching and a drift toward an experience-centered, pragmatic, topical approach in the pulpit.”
No surprise to those familiar with his ministry, MacArthur roots his commitment to expository preaching in the inerrancy of Scripture. Once that is affirmed, he argues, the only response is to preach the Word expositionally. “By expositionally, I mean preaching in such a way that the meaning of the Bible passage is presented entirely and exactly as it was intended by God. Expository preaching is the proclamation of the truth of God as mediated through the preacher.”
But MacArthur does not bring the only voice to the project. Other faculty members contributed chapters ranging from “The History of Expository Preaching” to “Bible Translations and Expository Preaching.”
James F. Stitzinger traces the historical development of expository preaching from the biblical witness to its own exposition to contemporary expositors. In the contemporary period, Stitzinger lists pulpiteers Donald Grey Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, G. Campbell Morgan, W. A. Criswell, John R. W. Stott, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones as prominent expositors.
Stitzinger states that “A study of the history of preaching makes it clear that such preaching is deeply rooted in the soil of Scripture. Thus, it is the only kind of preaching that perpetuates biblical preaching in the church.”
A unique section of the book deals with preparing the preacher for the task of exposition. James E. Rosscup exhorts the preacher to “cultivate an ever-growing passion to be the most prayerful and diligent channel he can be for broadcasting the greatest message of all time.”
Other chapters deal with matters ranging from hermeneutics to grammatical analysis. The chapters are thorough and insightful, offering direction and encouragement to those who would master the exposition of Scripture. The volume moves from preparing the minister to preparing and structuring the sermon.
The approach is thoroughly evangelical. The hermeneutical principles are predicated upon the inherent authority of the God-revealed text. Meaning is located within the mind of God as revealed in the written Word. The preacher is challenged to use exegetical methods to discover and lay bare the original meaning and intention of the text prior to application.
MacArthur points to the end of the exegetical process, which is the exposition itself. Expository preaching, he states, “involves far more than standing in the pulpit and reviewing the high points, details, and components unearthed through research. Neither a word study nor a running commentary on a passage is, in itself, an expository sermon. An expository sermon does more than simply explain the grammatical structure of a passage and the meaning of its words. A true expository message sets forth the principles or doctrines supported in a passage. True expository preaching is doctrinal preaching.”
Other contributors to the volume — all faculty members at The Master’s Seminary — are: Irvin A. Busenitz; David C. Denel; Richard L. Mayhue; Donald G. McDougall; James E. Rosscup; James F. Stitzinger; Robert L. Thomas; and George J. Zemek.
Rediscovering Expository Preaching is the fulfillment of that purpose, and it will serve any preacher well as a primer or refresher course on expository preaching.

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