The study of expository preaching can be a lifelong journey. For many of us it should be a lifelong journey. And the complexity of this ministry allows for a lifetime of learning. Consider the complexities of biblical interpretation and the diversity of biblical genre and form. Think about the continual changes in society, not to mention the ever developing experiences and needs of each individual listener. Ponder the numerous variables in effective oral communication, seemingly increasing all the time as advances are made in the fields of communication, rhetoric, education and homiletics. It is clear that there is plenty for us to keep studying and stretching ourselves as preachers: from applied linguistics in discourse analysis to the epistemological paradigms of postmodernity. From family systems dynamics to unintentional perlocutions in the preaching event. There’s plenty to learn for all of us.
But let’s not get caught in a fog of confusion here. The core issues are still the core issues. Preaching must always be concerned with the specific meaning of the biblical author and with the relevant and effective communication of that meaning to contemporary listeners. Preaching remains a spiritual endeavor very much concerned with the work of the Trinitarian God in you and through you. Excellence in Bible study, effectiveness in communication, relevance in presentation, and all of the above in a close reliance on the Spirit of God through prayer. Boil expository preaching down to its elements, and it is not much more than this: God, you, them & Bible study, communication and relevance.
Take stock of the basic elements – where should your learning and passion for growth be focused at this point in the process?