Who Most Influenced Your Understanding of Expository Preaching?

Leader influences

“Leader Influences” asks prominent leaders and teachers a question about who, or what, influenced them in a particular area.

Frank Page

President and CEO of the SBC executive committee

“HAVING BEEN RAISED IN A NON-CHRISTIAN HOME, I was led to the Lord through the ministry of a local Southern Baptist church in Greensboro, North Carolina, that changed not only my life, but later the life of my family. It was there that I heard the gospel and was deeply influenced by the ministries of two primary pastors – Norman Livengood and Calvin Capps. Both of these men were strong inerrantists and preachers of the Word who spoke with boldness and power, exemplifying the Lord through their preaching and lifestyle. I will forever be grateful for their examples of expository preaching, pastoral ministry, and stalwart Christian character. It was there at Southside Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, that I came to focus on my life verse from Isaiah 40:8 which says, ‘The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever’ (NKJV). I can truly say that the acceptation of that verse as my life verse was influenced by these godly men.”

“Both of these men were strong inerrantists and preachers of the Word who spoke with boldness and power, exemplifying the Lord through their preaching and lifestyle. I will forever be grateful for their examples of expository preaching, pastoral ministry, and stalwart Christian character.”

David Platt

President of the International Mission Board

“I AM INDEBTED TO JIM SHADDIX on so many levels. Without question, he taught me to preach the Bible. He taught me to love God’s Word, study God’s Word, trust God’s Word, and then to preach it with love for it, trust in it, and faithfulness to it. But Dr. Shaddix didn’t just teach these things to me; he modeled these things for me. He showed me what it looks like to love, study, and trust God’s Word, and to proclaim it with power accordingly. Yet even that was only the beginning. For Dr. Shaddix didn’t just teach and model these things in the context of a classroom; he did these things in the context of life. He invested his life in me, his family in my family. He didn’t just show me how to preach; he showed me how to live, how to lead, and how to love a wife and children. He showed me how to pursue Christ personally and share Christ passionately. Yes, the time in the classroom with Dr. Shaddix was truly invaluable, but it was the time in the car on a trip with him, on the streets sharing the gospel alongside him, and in his home having meals with him that took that value to an entirely different level. As a result, I can say without hesitation that I not only have a passion for preaching, but on a larger level a passion for the Great Commission because of Jim Shaddix’s influence in my life.”

John Pennington

Retired senior pastor of FBC Douglasville, Georgia; SBTS alumnus

    “THE THREE SIGNIFICANT PREACHERS when it comes to expository preaching are Clyde T. Francisco, under whom I took expository preaching as well as Old Testament at Southern Seminary. The others are pastors that I served under on staff, Charles T. Carter, at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, and also Harper Shannon, the former pastor of First Baptist Dothan, Alabama, and Huffman Baptist Church, who then served as associate executive secretary of the Alabama Baptist State Convention before retirement; he is an excellent expository preacher. So these are the three men who influenced my life: Dr. Francisco in the classroom at Southern, Charles T. Carter while I was on staff, and Harper Shannon who is one of my mentors. All three are great expository preachers. The lesson that I learned from them is when I stand before a congregation to preach they’re not interested in what I think, they’re interested in what the Bible says. And that’s so important even today. We need to let the Bible speak for itself. And the Scripture is sufficient.”

    “The lesson that I learned from them is when I stand before a congregation to preach they’re not interested in what I think, they’re interested in what the Bible says.”

    Miguel Núñez

    Senior pastor of Iglesia Bautista Internacional; SBTS Hispanic Initiatives coordinator, Latin America

      “FOUR TO FICE YEARS AFTER MY CONVERSION, I began to read and to listen to John MacArthur’s preaching and I was immediately impressed by his preaching skills. I loved how attached to the biblical texts he was all the time. Whatever I was listening to was coming right from the passage in front of me. Without a doubt, the preacher was governed by the biblical text. In retrospect, I believe God was forming me as a preacher back then, even though I was not thinking about becoming a pastor. I make this observation because I was not just being nurtured in general, I was learning how to magnify the Lord in preaching as the expositor uplifted the Word. I gained a deep appreciation for the gospel and its power to convert the heart, to change the mind, and even to submit the will. There was a level of authority in the preaching to which I was exposed to that can only come from the Word of God flowing through a man who had immersed himself in Scripture and who was prepared by the Spirit of God. I learned to preach paying close attention to preachers who handled the Word in this fashion before I read any book on preaching.”

      Dan Dumas

      Senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary and director of the Center for Expository Preaching; elder at Crossing Church, Louisville

      “I AM INDEBTED to so many great expository examples, but three rise above the rest. By definition and passion, I aspire to be a precise, exultational, and transformational expositor. My zeal for precision comes from my ultimate example and mentor, John MacArthur. I can still hear his voice and mantra in my head, “The meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture.” Getting it right is necessary to feel the full weight of the Scripture. Second is John Piper’s work, The Supremacy of God in Preaching, which has sharply shaped my view of preaching. Making sure my sermon is otherworldly is significant, because our expositions must have the whiff of eternity throughout. Expositional exultation is essential to effective preaching. Finally, Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks pushed me to make sure I properly apply the sermon to the listener. Expositions are not simply an information dump. Instead, they must compel us to edit our lives. A sermon is not a sermon until it is applied.”

      Brian Payne

      Associate professor of Christian theology and expository preaching at Boyce College; senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Fisherville, Kentucky

      “ALTHOUGH MANY PREACHERS and authors have influenced my understanding of expository preaching, the most impactful for me has to be Tommy Nelson at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas. In the 1990s, I began to receive cassette tapes from his media ministry and I heard an approach to preaching that was relatively new to me. That is, Tommy preached consecutively through books of the Bible, and in every sermon he sought to preach the main point of the passage as the main point of his sermon. Although this lectio continua approach to preaching is certainly not the only way to preach expositionally, it convinced me that, indeed, all Scripture is profitable. In fact, over the course of the first several months of listening to Tommy open up the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit used Tommy’s preaching as one of the means to call me to the preaching ministry. As my heart rejoiced each time I heard the Word expounded on those tapes, my desire to invest my life in the very endeavor Tommy Nelson invested his life increased into an insatiable desire that still burns today.”

      R. Albert MOHLER jr.

      President of Southern Seminary

      “MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE I’ve been encouraged by and influenced by in expository preaching, it’s Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I never got to hear the Doctor preach in person and that’s to my great regret. I was very close generationally to being able to hear him preach, but I was in college when he died. But his lectures in Preaching & Preachers transformed my understanding of preaching, where he was so bold to define expository preaching in such specific terms, defining what it is and what it isn’t, and cutting no corners; that was more influential than anything else. I also listened to him preach on what were then cassette tapes, so I had expository preaching redefined before my eyes and my ears. Listening to him preach Ephesians 1, in which some of his most famous sermons are found, and reading his sermons on the Sermon on the Mount — putting that together was extremely powerful.”

      David E. Prince

      Assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary; pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky

        “I WAS A NEW 20-YEAR-OLD BELIEVER when Greg Belser became the pastor of Morningview Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. One of the first Sundays he preached at Morningview my girlfriend (now wife) and I looked at one another after his sermon and said, “What was that?” It was the first time I had ever heard anything like it. I would later learn to call it expository preaching. His preaching was not flashy but it was accessible and weighty. Hearing Greg Belser’s expository sermons week-by-week transformed our lives and burdened me to give my life to Christ-centered expository preaching. Beyond the pulpit, Greg Belser’s pastoral ministry was marked by consistency and biblical integrity. The Bible was the foundation of every aspect of his leadership in the church. I learned sitting under his ministry that faithful pastoral leadership involved shepherding the flock with the Word of God and not simply by the force of your personality or the authority conferred by a sign on an office door. Now that I pastor and teach preaching at Southern Seminary I constantly refer back to things I learned as a young believer from Greg Belser’s expository sermons.”

        Robert Smith Jr.

        Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School; SBTS alumnus

          “JAMES EARL MASSEY, the former dean of the School of Theology at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, and a notable author, has for me, married multiethnicity in terms of his racial reconciliation and his preaching to audiences both black and white. He has shown me that the gospel, first of all, has to be as such that it can be presented to people regardless of their ethnicity and regardless of their denomination. Manuel Lee Scott Sr., who pastored the St. John Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and was greatly regarded by the Southern Baptist Convention, he also did not hold a gospel that could not be preached on the other side of town. The gospel had to be wide enough that it can be preached anywhere. He was my father in the ministry. At 17 after my first sermon he told me, ‘Bobby, don’t be a black preacher.’ He said, ‘Be a preacher black.’ What he meant by that is don’t let your blackness define your preaching, let your preaching define your blackness so that it is the proclamation that must be wider than the audience you preach in. That’s been so true in the way God has formed me.”