"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
Anyone that knows me knows that I am committed to expository preaching. In fact, I believe that expository preaching is the only biblical teaching that exists. In the above passage, Paul instructs Timothy to "Preach the Word." It is the Word which transforms. It is the Word which exposes sin. It is the Word that reveals the gospel. It is the Word that promotes Godly living. We are not to preach our opinion, our ideas, our systematic theology, our political platforms or even our church confessions or creeds. We are to simply preach the Word. Expositional preaching is the best if not the only way to do this. In fact, not only is our preaching to be expositional but it is also to be 'text driven.' That is the text of scripture is to be the formulating factor in anything we seek to say or preach. We say what the text says, and we do what the text tells us to do. This is the heart of expositional preaching.
We are not to preach our opinion, our ideas, our systematic theology, our political platforms or even our church confessions or creeds.
We are to simply preach the Word.
In the past few entries, we have been looking at discipleship. We have gathered that discipleship is not only necessary, but it is indeed mandated in scripture. We are to unite together for our own souls' sake and our common good. Titus 2 gives us the model for this in the local church.
1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound[a] doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
But what does discipleship look like? What are the best means for it to take place? I believe discipleship can look very different in various scenarios and circumstances. Men preaching to a room of thousands or one man or woman with one person underneath a tree in the Amazon jungle can both be a valid form of discipleship. Small groups meeting at church, or in homes, or even traditional Sunday school are all valid ways of making disciples.
...there must be one common denominator in all of these.
They must be expositional. They should be driven by the text of scripture.
Indeed family devotional times, the youth group at church, Wednesday night bible studies and online bible studies are all acceptable forms of disciple-making. However...there must be one common denominator in all of these. They must be expositional. They should be driven by the text of scripture. That is not to say that we cannot study 'topical' issues in our approach to discipleship. How to pray, how to study, family, history, doctrinal studies...all of these are certainly good and helpful ways of approaching discipleship studies, yet they must all have one obvious commonality. They must in their content 'teach scripture' They must 'expose' the truth of a given text. They must answer the question "What does the Bible say?" I believe the best way to do this is to simply 'disciple' believers through books of the Bible. Also, time spent in systematic and biblical theology is helpful as long as such studies engage the biblical text. Studies that direct us to a book or an article or a video series are fine as long as the focus of the study is not the book itself, the video or the lesson, but the text of scripture.
Let us commit ourselves to biblical, expositional discipleship which causes us to engage the text of sacred scripture with the end result being that we know more of the Word of God so that we might know more of the God of the Word! We should read books...good books...we should listen to sermons and bible studies, we should attend conferences and events that encourage us to grow in our faith and motivate unto good works, however, never should these things replace the faithful teaching and preaching of the Bible. We should present it line by line, verse by verse, precept upon precept...to the end that we all our moving towards being fully developed, faithful and devoted followers of Jesus Christ!
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of Godb may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
POSTSCRIPT: Although at the time of this writing I had not seen the term "Expository Discipleship" utilized any where else. I did happen across this web site, which seems to be quite rich and beneficial. It would only be right to credit the author with the term, although I cannot attest that it is original with him.