There are lots of famous preachers, whom I greatly respect, who insist the only appropriate biblical preaching is verse-by-verse exposition. But many of these preachers do what I call "topical preaching in disguise." While preaching through a book of the Bible, they often preach what is really a topical sermon.
One of my favorite expositional preachers is Donald Grey Barnhouse, the pulpit giant who preached at Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church. How could Barnhouse preach 140 expository sermons from Romans? In the preface to his ten volumes on Romans, Barnhouse describes his style as "expositions which take as their point of departure the book of Romans and range through the whole of the Bible. . . ." These "points of departure" lead to topical studies on important subjects such as the Trinity, unanswered prayer, and God's purpose in human suffering.
A new name
Weren't Jesus' sermons primarily topical? What about Paul's sermons, or Peter's? Why do some expository preachers ...1