Preaching the Text, not just Preaching from the Text

Most of the preaching I heard while on vacation was preaching from the text of Scripture, not preaching the text of Scripture.

Preaching from the text is using a verse or passage to make points, many of which may be scripturally and theologically true.

Preaching the text, however (as opposed to preaching from the text), involves using the main point of the text or passage as the main point of the sermon and then connecting that main point or theme to each component of the passage along the way.

This way, what the preacher is saying is what the Bible says. This is preferable to preaching your own ideas, as sound and as true as they may be, and using the Bible to justify them.


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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7 Responses to Preaching the Text, not just Preaching from the Text

  1. Terry Lange says:

    Remember you were dealing with people who are probably not committed to expository preaching and probably could not define the word nonetheless!

  2. Arthur Sido says:

    There are also plenty of men who espouse expository preaching but either don’t know what it means or know and do something different anyway. Before I filled in preaching for the first time, the pastor gave me MacArthur’s Expository Preaching to look over which was ironic because he hadn’t ever given a remotely expository sermon in all the time we went there.

  3. At least one place was supposedly committed to expositional preaching, Terry, but as Arthur said, I don’t think that the philosophical commitment always makes its way from the study to the pulpit.At one place in particular, the preacher, a very well-known one (a former SBC President, no less), preached from every verse of a psalm, but never once discussed the main meaning of the psalm much less connecting that meaning to his message or to the hearers. It was a “How to kill the giants in your life” sermon.In fairness, he did mention that it was a psalm of ascent, but he connected that to American patriotism rather than to the worship of God’s covenant people.

  4. Arthur Sido says:

    Aren’t Americans God’s covenant people?

  5. You would think so, based on all the sermons I hear where we insert “USA” in place of “Israel.”What I don’t understand is that most of the guilty ones are Dispensationalists who get bent out of shape when someone inserts “Church” in place of “Israel.” I guess it’s okay to confuse America and Israel as long as you don’t confuse the church and Israel.

  6. I’ve never heard Johnny Mac confuse America and Israel, actually, he railed against America’s contentment with considering itself the promised land in “A Nation Abandoned By God”

  7. Faithful Servant:YOu haven’t heard John MacArthur do this because, say what you will about him, he does preach true expository sermons where he is true to Scripture. I do not always agree with his interpretations (especially with regard to the Millennial question as you and I discussed the other day) but one must admit that he is trying to be faithful to the Scriptures and is actually preaching the Word and not just preaching from the Word.He was never an SBC president was he? Or am I just confused (I often am so if I am now just consider it my normal state).

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