This article will be related to the Passions of Expository Preachers. Within the heart of every minister are motivational passions (the things that drive us). Books have been produced by the scads on the essential qualities of effective ministers. This is indeed true of of those who preach or teach the Word of God on a regular basis. And yet while it is true of us there are, in my opinion, three foundational passions that drive the work we do. Possess these and you will love the work. If, however, you don’t have them then you will likely struggle daily to even engage the ministry of preaching.
The Passions of Expository Preachers: The Call
As one reads through the Scripture it is easy to detect an encouraging truth … God calls those he plans to use. Room does not suffice in the article to list all the examples, but most of us would readily agree with this. Noah was called, Abraham was called, Joesph was called, each of the prophets were called, and even the disciples were called. It is this called that stirs the passions of expository preachers.
All successful ministers that I know personally or from what I have read of them, to a man, will attribute his success in ministry to the call God placed on his heart to serve. Many left lucrative careers in business in order to pursue what they believed God had asked them to do. Many will say that the call is so deep within them that they would preach God’s Word even if there was no compensation for doing so. Many, perhaps even most, expository preachers are committed to God because they believe He committed to the through a special calling.
The Passions of Expository Preachers: The Word
The work of expository preachers is driven by a burning desire to accurately represent what God has said. No personal agendas exist, or should exist, for those who believe they have been called of God to proclaim the life-altering, soul-saving truth of the Bible. In a day and age when “relevant” preaching is discussed by so many, true expositors understand that the message of the Word of God is eternally relevant and timeless. One does not make the Word “relevant,” … it already is.
One of the elements of my definition of preaching is “a properly interpreted passage of Scripture.” Dedicated expository preachers insist on honoring the Word of God by studying it so intensely, in a quest for accuracy of interpretation, that they will not preach a passage until they believe they have captured the truths of the passage. They do not look for what they “like” or even what inspires them, they look for God’s truth and nothing more. The passion for truth motivates all they do. They know that it is truth from God’s perspective that truly changes lives.
The Passions of Expository Preachers: The Work
The work for expository preachers can mean long hours and sometimes little rest. The pastorate (or other ministerial vocations) oftentimes demand so much. Congregants die at the most inopportune times and the pastor must be with family. Church and community functions, fellowship obligations, staff meetings, crisis management, evangelistic efforts, family responsibilities, counseling, and so many other obligations demand the attention of the preacher. Yet, and even in spite of these realities, the dedicated expository preacher never uses the excuse of “no time” to compromise his commitment to being an accurate expositor. He may make some compromises in his life, but never as it relates to his preparation to preach God Word.
Expository preachers love the work of exposition. They commit to it even it if means burn the proverbial “midnight oil.” We each should ask ourselves if we love the work to this degree. I believe God has earned this level of commitment from us.
Expository Preachers: A Final Thought
Within all humanity lie passions for something, perhaps many things. But for those who have engaged the work of preaching, in order to truly enjoy the ministry, their must have been a calling from God Himself. There must be a passion to honor the truths of the Word and never compromise them for the purpose of a personal agenda. There must be a dedication to the necessary work to convey the message of God accurately.
Tony Guthrie, Ph.D.
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