I’m not one of those people who thinks only expository preaching (that is, preaching that relies on—rather than obliquely refers to—a passage in the Bible, explains what it says and how it applies today) is good or valid. However, I much prefer it. Much. May I say to you: Much.
Here’s one reason why: There is a whole lot of preaching in churches today that makes good points and says good things in entertaining ways … but relies mostly (or even exclusively) on the preacher’s perspective and opinions, rather than on sound interpretation and explanation of the Bible.
But when a preacher tasks himself or herself with a passage of Scripture and lets it decide and guide what is said from the pulpit (or, as is often the case, music stand or plexiglas lectern), it can be both limiting and liberating. When you preach from a text, there is far less room (if you’re honest) for opinions and personal prejudices to creep in. It can still be done, of course, but not so easily without raising red flags in the preacher’s soul.
The problem many of us preachers face, however, is that we want to preach what we want to preach. We want to make certain points that Scripture may not make—or may not make unequivocally. But that is exactly why I prefer expository preaching, because it forces me as a student and communicator to make the points Scripture makes instead of the points I really want to make. And that’s a good thing.