“Bob, can you talk about how you teach expositionally and still reach unchurched people?”
I get this question pretty regularly. The reason is, many guys who teach the Bible verse by verse don’t seem to reach people far from God with this style of teaching. On the other hand, a majority of the Pastors who take evangelism seriously primarily teach topically and believe this is the best way to reach unchurched people.
This question hits on 2 things that are very important to me:
1. Preaching verse by verse through the Bible
2. Reaching people far from God
By answering this question I have to deal with a misconception: that expositional preaching is primarily a tool to reach believers and topical/ felt need preaching is what reaches unchurched people.
I don’t buy this idea at all. I am thankful to the Lord that we’ve seen close to 1,000 new believers at Calvary in the last year and the whole time we’ve seen preaching through books of the Bible (including Romans, 2 & 3 John, Jude and Obadiah – yes you read that correctly).
The key to teaching expositionally that connects with unchurched people is to teach with a point. Working through a section of Scripture, explaining the meaning and giving relevant application.
I believe expositional teachers have an advantage over primarily topical teachers: unchurched people sit and watch us work through a chunk of Scripture and they say, “That’s what the Bible says.”
The purely topical teacher hops around and pulls a random verse here and there and the unchurched person wonders if that’s what those verses really mean because they aren’t in context.
Obviously, I’m making generalities but the point is that teaching through a chapter or paragraph of Scripture assures the listener that there’s no “funny business” happening with the text as it’s being preached.
Once again, I know there’s guys who live and die by topical preaching and to them I say, “God bless you. Do what God has led you to do.”
For me, I am sold on teaching the Scriptures verse by verse (although I believe there are topics that are better handled in a topical manner) because it’s the best way to disciple a congregation. Plus, it’s a great way to reach unchurched people who are skeptical about the Bible.
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