a plea for real exposition

I ran across a sermon the other day. The preacher bills himself as an expository preacher. He was dealing with a very important text, full of material for application to our present scene. His approach to the text was to read a verse, and then talk about his view of what he thought of that theme in relation to our modern situation. After awhile, he would read another verse and carry on with the development of his own opinions.

I think he might have defined a few of the words from the original language. At one point, he began mis-pronouncing one of the Greek words underlying the point he was making. He kind of lost me there, and I imagine he lost his congregation too. Most of them probably don’t know Greek.

Other than defining a few of the words, there was no interaction with the text. There was no explanation of the thoughts of the text, how they related to one another, what the apostle was teaching through the argumentation of the text, and what that argumentation meant for our situation here and now.

There was a bit of historical context offered. It was… ah… how shall we say it? Not germane to the text. It actually fit more with another text in another epistle. In short, it didn’t expose anything about the text so the hearer could read, hear, and see, “Ahah! that’s it, that’s right, that’s what the text means, and this is what God is saying to me here and now through this ancient text.”

In short, if this was exposition, there wasn’t a whole lot of exposing going on.

Oh, brothers! Please! Be an expositor! Let the text speak! Get yourself and your opinions out of the way! Speak as of the oracles of God!


is it right to be NASB-only?

In a previous thread, one of my good on-line friends posed a real dilemma that he says happened in our circles. I am sure he is reporting accurately, I am not accusing him of making any misstatements or misrepresentations at all.

The scenario is that of a missionary from a fundamentalist mission board who is required by his board to use the KJV when preaching in English in the USA. He wants to present his mission at a local church that has made the NASB the only version that can be used in its pulpit.

Obviously, if there is no give on either side, the missionary would have to forego that meeting. (From a missionary’s perspective, given the odds of getting support from any given church, missing one isn’t that big a problem.)

And from a local church perspective, I think establishing such a policy is certainly within the rights of a local church. We can quibble as to the wisdom of the policy, but it is within the purview of any local church to make a decision about a standard version for their church.

However, the scenario raises a few questions that I wonder how my readers might answer.

  1. While I can understand standardizing on a version for your local ministry, wouldn’t it be better to allow visiting speakers some flexibility in use of translations?
  2. Wouldn’t a rigid inflexibility here tend to communicate the same error that rigid King James Onlyism makes? (i.e., Only the KJV is the Word of God … or, in this scenario, Only the NASB is the Word of God.)
  3. How would you feel if you did allow guest speakers limited flexibility and they used…
    1. … the KJV in your services?
    2. … the NASB?
    3. … the ESV?
    4. … the NKJV?
    5. … the Holman?
    6. … _______? (you fill in the blank)

Just a little thought experiment. I am not pontificating, just wondering.

I am also, of course, assuming that versions other than the KJV are permissible. So, my KJO friends, this is not a thread to raise the KJV debate. I won’t post any comments that get into that fight. I am just interested in discussing this scenario and these questions. If you would only ever use the KJV, then this thread is probably not for you.