That which I have found most beneﬁcial in my experience for the last ﬁfty-one years in the public ministry of the Word, is, expounding the Scriptures, and especially the going now and then through a whole gospel or epistle. This may be done in a two-fold way, either by entering minutely into the bearing of every point occurring in the portion, or by giving the general outlines, and thus leading the hearers to see the meaning and connection of the whole.
1. The hearers are thus, with God’s blessing, led to the Scriptures. They ﬁnd, as it were, a practical use of them in the public meetings. This induces them to bring their bibles, and I have observed that those who at ﬁrst did not bring them, have afterwards been induced to do so: so that in a short time few, of the believers at least, were in the habit of coming without them. This is no small matter; for every thing, which in our day will lead believers to value the Scriptures, is of importance.
2. The expounding of the Scriptures is in general more beneﬁcial to the hearers than if, on a single verse, or half a verse, or two or three words of a verse some remarks are made, so that the portion of Scripture is scarcely anything but a motto for the subject; for few have grace to meditate much over the Word, and thus exposition may not merely be the means of opening up to them the Scriptures, but may also create in them a desire to meditate for themselves.
3. The expounding of the Scriptures leaves to the hearers a connecting link, so that the reading over again the portion of the Word, which has been expounded, brings to their remembrance what has been said; and thus, with God’s blessing, leaves a more lasting impression on their minds. This is particularly of importance as it regards the illiterate, who sometimes have neither much strength of memory nor capacity of comprehension.
4. The expounding of large portions of the Word, as the whole of a gospel or an epistle, besides leading the hearer to see the connection of the whole, has also this particular beneﬁt for the teacher, that it leads him, with God’s blessing, to the consideration of portions of the Word, which otherwise he might not have considered, and keeps him from speaking too much on favourite subjects, and leaning too much to particular parts of truth, which tendency must surely sooner or later injure both himself and his hearers.- Expounding the word of God brings little honour to the preacher from the unenlightened or careless hearer, but it tends much to the beneﬁt of the hearers in general.