Well, I'll [Adrian Rogers] tell you one thing, he [the new preacher] has to learn how to work in a hurry, because he does not have time to be G. Campbell Morgan. He may think that he does, but if he is a pastor of a growing church today, there are so many demands on his time, he has to cut to the chase.
Happily today, there are a lot of good resources. He probably does not need to make the mistake of trying to be too deep. Most people can only really understand one thing. Good preaching is not saying seven things, it's saying one thing seven ways. I asked Vance Havner one time, "How many points should a good sermon have?" He said, "At least one."
I want to reach the average person, and when I preach Sunday morning, I'm going to have a lot of pagans, I'm going to have a lot of saints, I'm going to have some literate, I'm going to have some illiterate, I'm going to have some young, I'm going to have some old, I'm going to have some Spirit-filled people. How am I going to relate to all of those people?
I don't know, that's where the Holy Spirit comes in. Sometimes people will say to me, "Boy, you really spoke to me this morning." They'll tell me what I said, but I didn't say that. God said that.
God said that to them. God just took the Word and applied it.
Expository preaching is not explaining everything in a passage of Scripture. That’ll build a church right on down. I mean, you are not in a seminary classroom. Expository preaching is taking a passage of Scripture, and finding the truth in that passage of Scripture that you want to preach. There are all kinds of truths in any passage of Scripture.
Scripture only has one meaning, but it has 10,000 applications. It bothers me when somebody says, "Isn't it wonderful that the Bible can mean so many different things?" I say, "No, it's not wonderful, it's a lie.” It means exactly what it means. Nothing more, nothing less, and a good preacher is going to find out what it means.
Then, he's going to say, "Now, how does it apply today?" Then he's going to sharpen the focus a little bit more, and he's going to say, "How does it apply to us personally?" Then, he's preaching. What did it mean, how does it apply, and then how does it apply to us personally?
Not “Thou shall not steal,” as a countryman said, "Thou shall not steal watermelons." You get right down to what it means, how it applies right here, now. You find your truth in that passage of Scripture, but you don't give every Greek verb and ta-da-da-da. You say, "Here are three truths." You turn those truths into principles if you can. There's no easy way to do that. You’ll learn by doing it. I probably spend more time on my sermons now than I did when I started. It doesn't get easier, it just gets more enjoyable.
This question and answer came from a Doctoral Colloquium session with Adrian Rogers and several Doctoral Preaching candidates in 1997.