Why should expositional preaching include biblical theology?

  1. Bibilical theology is necessary in order to understand the text. We can truly understand a text of Scripture only by situating it within the overall narrative of redemptive history.
  2. Biblical theology is necessary in order to apply the text. In order to understand how passages from Leviticus or the Psalms or Amos or Matthew or Acts apply to Christians today, we need to understand the continuities and discontinuities between the text’s place in redemptive history and ours. For instance, if you’re preaching from Leviticus, you need to teach your people that Christ’s death on the cross fulfilled the entire Levitical system and rendered it obsolete (see Hebrews 8-10) in order for them to understand how a passage from Leviticus applies to their lives.
  3. Biblical theology is necessary in order to preach the gospel from every passage of Scripture. The way to preach the gospel in every sermon is to relate the text to the overall narrative of Scripture, the center of which is the saving death and resurrection of Christ.
  4. Biblical theology teaches Christians how to understand all of Scripture. By showing how different portions of the Bible relate to and inform the others, biblical theology enables Christians to understand the Bible as a coherent whole.
  5. Biblical theology strengthens Christians’ confidence in the unity and truthfulness of Scripture. By demonstrating how God kept his promises, how prophesies were fulfilled, and how all the Old Testament points forward to the work of Christ, biblical theology strengthens Christians’ confidence in the unity and truthfulness of Scripture.
  6. Biblical theology inspires and encourages Christians. When Christians see and understand the sweeping grandeur of God’s saving purposes they will be inspired to worship God joyfully and encouraged to persevere in faith.