Some Thoughts on Expository Preaching and Strange Texts
There are some texts that holler, “Preach me!” They are the epitomizing texts, encapsulating some great truth in one place. They are the famous, memorable texts, serving as the mainstay for God’s people through the ages. They are the inspiring texts, which we memorize and love to hear preached. Indeed, all of the Bible is equally inspired, but not all of it is equally inspiring. There are other texts which grin and say, “I dare you to preach me.” They are the shocking and sometimes embarrassing texts (the ones you hope your kids don’t ask too many questions about in family devotions). They are the complex, obscure, difficult texts. They are strange texts.
As a preacher, I would never gravitate towards my text for this next Lord’s Day, Hebrews 7:1-10. The text does not shout, “Preach me!” In fact, the text is an argument, a round about argument, dealing with tithing and loins. Try to find some hymns about those subjects! This round about argument is not even the coup de grace for the passage; it is the penultimate, not ultimate, argument. Although integral for the argument, it is still strange. If I were asked to preach a single sermon on some occasion I would not say, “Hot dog! Here’s my chance to preach Heb. 7:1-10.”
Nevertheless, I am committed to consecutive, expository preaching. This means that I don’t have a choice. I am a man under authority. What do I preach? Whatever comes next in the text is what I preach. Consecutive, expository preaching keeps preachers honest and balanced. It keeps us from plucking only one or two strings on our homiletic guitar. It forces us to preach the whole counsel of God, without prejudice. It presses us to think hard about hard texts. The fruit from these texts is often amazing, exceeding our expectation.
So I am thankful for consecutive, expository preaching, which says, without hesitation, “Preach the next text!”