Moving from Exegesis to Exposition
Dr. Wayne Baxter, Professor of New Testament and Greek at Heritage Theological Seminary believes that one important window into the life of a church is the pulpit.
From his perspective, there’s been a shift in preaching today from finding a foundation in God’s Word to something characterized as humanistic, self-help messages that squeeze God out of the picture and obscure the Christian’s need to receive God’s grace daily. He believes this trend has contributed to declining numbers in attendance, increasingly disengaged congregants, and theological and biblical immaturity in today’s church.
He says the answer to this growing problem in the pulpit is a move to expository preaching—preaching rooted in the Bible because it is only in Scripture that people can hear the life-changing sound of God’s voice.
“Preaching is ultimately about God and his mission, not us,” says Baxter. “Since God has preserved his Word for us, and the central message of Scripture is God, it behooves any would-be Christian herald to proclaim Scripture so that God and his glory might be encountered in the preaching of His Word.”
Out of a desire to help pastors, as well as Bible college and seminary students, prepare expository sermons that take what is learned from exegesis and apply that truth to the soul of their congregations, Baxter has written his latest book, Preparing Sermons from The Page to The Pulpit: Exegesis to Exposition in Seven Steps.
This step-by-step guide for current and future preachers sets out to help preachers better connect their study of Scripture in preparation to preach and the expository messages they craft. Baxter explains that, for a long time, he’s observed a gap between the pastor’s study and the pulpit, as many preachers struggle with how to connect their study of Greek and Hebrew to developing effective expository messages that both connect with the listener and are true to the text. He hopes that this book will help provide busy pastors with a step-by-step approach to aid them in moving from the exegesis of the text to the explanation of the text in the pulpit.
It’s been a process of preparing sermons that Baxter says has helped him greatly in his preaching and expanding his vision of Jesus. He says that there is a danger when it comes to preaching that has a low view of Jesus, which misses who Jesus is and how he affects everything—how we view ourselves, sin, Scripture, life, and death. This exegetical-homiletical approach to preaching helps provide a high view of Christ that is needed in many pulpits today.
“A high view of Jesus—gazing at the Christ of Scripture—is life-giving,” says Baxter. “Christ-centred, expository preaching, arrived at through a careful exegesis of the text, imparts to the audience this crucial, life-giving vision of Jesus.”