Restoring Expository Preaching in the Lutheran Tradition

Although it is not a dominant approach in Lutheran preaching today, expository preaching has a rich tradition in Lutheranism and should be practiced more robustly by contemporary Lutheran preachers. This paper demonstrates that expository preaching can promote Lutheran homiletical values. The paper also presents how distinctive emphases of Lutheran preaching, such as the proclamation of law and gospel, can be realized in expository sermons.
A methodology is presented for developing and delivering an expository sermon that advances Lutheran priorities for preaching. This approach employs four components that align with the acronym EPIC: Exposition, Proclamation, Imagination, and Connection. First, as is appropriate to the descriptor of “expository,” the sermon demonstrates a rich EXPOSITION of the biblical text, so that the intended meaning of the pericope is clearly communicated and in fact the sermon follows the shape of the text. Second, since the primary task of Lutheran preaching is to proclaim the gospel, this method integrates PROCLAMATION of law and gospel in a coherent and unforced manner. Third, IMAGINATION is incorporated into this formula by imaging concepts in the sermon and by evoking experiences using stories that support the concepts. Finally, the preacher seeks to establish CONNECTION with the hearers by reflecting their lives in the message and by directing them to respond to the message. These components are not presented consecutively in a sermon (i.e., exposition then proclamation then imagination then connection), but are integrated into a homiletical structure that reflects the shape of the scriptural passage that is exposited.
This paper compares and contrasts this method with the more conventional approach in Evangelicalism that composes expository sermons with the formula of exposition + illustration + application. The EPIC approach applies the Lutheran homiletical values of Christocentricity, holistic formation, and pastoral care to the expository sermon.

2 thoughts on “Restoring Expository Preaching in the Lutheran Tradition”

Leave a Comment