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Haddon Robinson’s definition of expository preaching

Not only should a preacher use good hermeneutics in the study, but they should exemplify good hermeneutics in the presentation.

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTOR 108/Peter_Mead 10 DE FEBRERO DE 2022 09:26 h
Photo: [link] Sixteen Miles Out[/link], Unsplash, CC0

I still look back with huge gratitude at the opportunity to have studied with Haddon Robinson in the mid 2000’s.



Here is his oft-quoted definition:



“Expository preaching is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher, applies to the hearers”.



 



Importance of the “concept”



The central role of the “big idea” is vital to coherent preaching. Preaching is not the conveying of random details held together by their proximity in a biblical text.  It is easy to let a Bible text nudge you into your favourite theological themes, your anecdotes of choice, or even other disconnected biblical truths.



This definition urges the preacher to study the passage in order to determine the big idea of the passage. What, specifically, is this passage saying?



 



Importance of the study method



Among the expository definitions that I’ve read over the years, I think this one is unique in including a definition of the hermeneutical approach advocated.  In order to get to the biblical concept in a passage, the preacher is to use a historical, grammatical, literary study of the passage in context.



What, accurately, is this passage saying?



 



Importance of the transmission



Many people miss the two words “transmitted through” that come before the hermeneutical element. Not only should a preacher use good hermeneutics in the study, but they should exemplify good hermeneutics in the presentation.



After all, the preacher is modelling Bible handling before a crowd who will pick up habits from what they observe. How will they read their Bibles after listening to you preach?



 



Importance of the Holy Spirit



Again, many definitions of preaching seem to omit any reference to the Holy Spirit.  This one recognizes the role of the Spirit in applying the biblical concept in the life of the preacher, then through the preacher in the listeners too.



Apart from Him, we can do nothing.



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. This article first appeared on his blog Biblical Preaching. 


 

 


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